First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - Sam's Club is known for having things in bulk.
So it should come as no surprise that the retailer decided to help local non-profits using the bulk strategy.
Twenty-eight local non-profit agencies received donations totaling $39,000 Tuesday as part of the build-up to the store's opening on Thursday.
“Sam's Club is committed to serving our local community, in addition to bringing the best value and quality merchandise and service to our members,” said Mike Travelstead, the store manager who grew up in Lumberton. “We're also about giving back to the community. That's one of the most important things.”
The store distributed $1,000 oversized checks to 26 agencies, ranging from the Department of Social Services' Foster Children's Christmas Fund to the Robeson County African American Cultural Center to the South Robeson Rescue Unit.
Two non-profits - the Boys and Girls Club of Robeson County and Lumberton Friends of Recreation and Parks Foundation - received larger checks because Sam's provides a corporate match to non-profits that have benefited from volunteer work by Sam's employees. The store's employees recently helped refurbish the Boys and Girls Club facility in Lumberton and also cleaned up a local park.
That meant the Boys and Girls Club received a $5,000 check and the Lumberton Friends of Recreation and Parks Foundation received an $8,000 check.
David James, senior district executive of Robeson County Boy Scouts, was among those who picked up a $1,000 check for his agency. James said he was impressed by the business' benevolence.
“I've been doing this for a long time and Sam's Club is giving to the community before they've even earned their first dollar,” he said.
James said the Lumberton location will save him from having to drive to Fayetteville to shop at the Sam's Club there.
“We use it for events for the Scouts,” James said. “It helps us to go to Sam's Club to get bigger bulk and sometimes it's cheaper. It'll be wonderful.”
About 100 people turned out for the check presentations and afterward took brief tours of the 135,287-square-foot store. Sam's Club is a membership warehouse club, with yearly memberships ranging from $35 to $100.
The retailer sells groceries and other regular department store offerings, as well as unusual items such as kayaks, mattresses, swimming pools and whirlpool spas. It has a pharmacy, an auto shop, photo lab, bakery, cafe and floral department. A gas station for members is planned to open at the site in about a month.
Mayor Raymond Pennington was glad to have Travelstead back to Lumberton.
“He hit the ground running, doing projects in neighborhoods to help children and people of our community from the time he hit the city limits again,” Pennington said.