Sam's Club Now, the newfangled concept from Walmart that's due to open on Greenville Avenue, will come with more than groceries: The company has commissioned a local artist to paint a mural on the building that's dedicated to Dallas.
Sam's tapped Dallas artist Michael McPheeters to execute a mural on the side of the store facing Richmond Avenue, depicting a mashup of Dallas city life and Texas, with familiar images that range from the red Pegasus flying horse to a field of bluebonnets.
"I'm trying to blend different segments of time in Dallas, tying the old into the new," McPheeters says.
McPheeters caught the eye of Sam's Club after painting a mural for Barry's Bootcamp in Uptown Dallas. That led to a follow-up mural he painted at a San Fransisco location of the gym chain. An executive at Sam's Club attended a class there, was impressed with the work, and began following McPheeters on Instagram.
Sam's and McPheeters spent three months concepting the mural, starting with sports legends and local heroes before morphing into a mural that portrays iconic Dallas scenes while representing the Lower Greenville neighborhood.
Some of the city's most recognizable architecture is also featured: Reunion Tower lights up a skyline scene, with Bank of America Plaza and 500 Record rising in the mix.
"Dallas has such a beautiful skyline, with so many classic cool buildings — the architecture in Dallas is amazing," McPheeters says.
Texan images include the flag, cowboys, a longhorn, and wind turbines lining the horizon.
The mural also cleverly references several art installations in Dallas, including The Eye, the giant eyeball sculpture by Tony Tasset in downtown Dallas; and Waiting on a Train, one portion of the Traveling Man series of sculptures sprinkled throughout Deep Ellum from artist Brad Oldham.
The Greenville Avenue store is national news. Sam's Club CEO Jamie Iannone has dubbed it "the epicenter of innovation for Sam's Club." The entire store will be like a self-serve cashier, with customers using an app to scan items as they shop.
The company decided to open the store after letting the space remain a vacant eyesore for nearly three years.
Jashua Davies, another well known Dallas muralist, says he's glad to see that Sam's went local. "I am glad they chose Michael to create the mural instead of hiring a national marketing firm," Davies says.
A spokesperson for Sam's Club says that they've been quietly inviting members in to help test their systems, and are hosting a grand opening party on November 16 at 10 am.
McPheeters began the mural a week ago and has been racing through a marathon to finish in time.
November is perhaps not the ideal time for an outdoor mural, and McPheeters worked through some inclement weather. "It got cold tonight!" he exclaimed on Facebook on November 12, as he power-painted through a patch of icy rain.