(The following is from a Walmart press release)
Sitta “Sid” Kebbay has taken the long road to his new Walmart store in Atlanta. But after countless stops throughout the world, Kebbay hopes he has found a home in the Cascade Heights neighborhood.
Kebbay, the store manager at the Walmart set to open in October at 1105 Research Center Drive, was born in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. At the age of five, Kebbay and his family came to the United States, moving all around the Northeast in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
He then came south for college at the University of Georgia, and has made the state his home. But even then, staying in one place hasn’t been easy for Kebbay. His Walmart career, which actually began in New Jersey, has included stops in Gwinnett, North Fulton County, Dunwoody, Decatur, Wilburn and College Park, where he has been a store manager for three years.
And now it’s the Cascade Heights region of Atlanta, a neighborhood Kebbay has quickly fallen in love with. “I really love the Cascade community,” he said. “It reminds me of New York.”
Kebbay says he anticipates a strong relationship between Walmart and the community, which is one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in the country.
“As the first Walmart in the area, it’s vital we recognize the community’s values,” Kebbay said. “Part of the way that will happen is by responding to the needs of the constituency.”
For Walmart, that means adjusting the products offered in the store. Kebbay’s store will have a large selection of African-American health and beauty aid products, as well as a Jamaican food section in the grocery department.
Those offerings and others like them will continue to expand as the store opens and as Kebbay and his team gain more knowledge about the neighborhood.
That team is being put together now, as Kebbay looks to hire approximately 300 associates to work in the new store. Some will be transfers from other Atlanta-area stores, but most will be new to Walmart. Finding the best and the brightest will be Kebbay’s challenge in the coming weeks.
Part of that process will include teaching and incorporating the Walmart culture into the hiring process.
“We have to make sure each associate understands the significance of serving the customers in the community,” he said.
“The culture lessons start on day one,” he said, stressing the importance of the customers and providing service that is efficient, friendly and fast. When training the associates, Kebbay can also stress the opportunities that abound for applicants looking for careers.
One of the secrets for Kebbay’s success has been a willingness to take on special assignments, challenges and moving to different stores. Those steps prepared him to be a manager, which first happened in College Park. Now he begins at a new store, and one he hopes to make a permanent stop.
“I like this area,” he said. “I’d like to plant some roots here.”