Supercenter opening first week in March

By James Stewart From the outside, the new Wal-Mart Supercenter looks complete, but according to local store manager Bob Smithson, the actual completion date and official grand opening has now been formally set for the first week of March. “Residents have been calling and asking lots of questions about the status of the new store on a very regular basis,” Smithson told the Standard-Herald Wednesday. “We want to get as much factual information to the public as possible so people will understand the time line on which we are working.” According to Smithson, the changeover process to move to the new store will be a six-week process once possession of the property and building is turned over to the local crew. “Because it is such a labor-intensive process, we decided to postpone starting the transition to the new store until after the holiday season,” said Smithson. In mid-January, the local store crew will be given control of the store and will be responsible for actually setting up the layout of the new facility including finishing out the offices. “That process, which will involve quite a bit of construction on our behalf, will take about two weeks,” he said. “After that, when we actually begin moving merchandise over to the new store, it will take us about four more weeks to get everything ready. Once it is, we will announce the actual date, and we will close our store here and re-open the next morning in the new location.” Questions most often asked of Smithson include the hours and what type of ancillary businesses might be located inside the store or on the adjoining property. “We are going to be a 24-hour store with a large portion of the store dedicated to grocery,” said Smithson. “There will be a full- service deli, a limited service bakery and a large produce section as well as a seafood department. The store will sell beer and wine. “We are going to have 40,000 square feet of grocery business with produce being the main focus,” he said. As for what will not be in the store, there will not be a restaurant, nor will there be a tire/ lube center and Murphy Oil Company has still declined the requests by area citizens to put in a gasoline outlet on the premises. Whether or not the fabrics section will be brought back has not yet been determined. There will not be any lease space in the front of the store as seen in other larger Supercenters so there will not be any bank, optical mart or hair salon. The property available for commercial lease has not been sold although, according to Smithson, there has been considerable interest. A unique aspect of this Supercenter is the recycling effort the store will be involved in as part of a corporate program to reduce, reuse and recycle. “We will basically be a waste-free facility,” said Smithson. “What little waste the store does generate will not even go into the local landfill as we currently have a contract with Waste Management Services and that waste is shipped out of the county. “This store is not going to be totally green, but there will be a lot of ideas included that are founded in making the store more environmentally sound.” As for the staff of the new store, 80 new employees including as many as 30 full time and 50 part time persons will be hired. Future plans for the old facility have yet to be announced. The building is owned by a corporation in California and no plans have been publicized. More information on updates in any of the plans will be made available as soon as developments are formally settled.

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