Teresa Neal's trip to Wal-Mart just got shorter.
Aiken resident Larry Brown had a longer drive, but he said it was worth it.
"I liked it," Neal said after her first visit to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter on Washington Road in Evans. "The store is really big."
"It's nice, it's clean, and it's big," said Brown, who drove across the river with his wife, Valerie, to see the store.
They were among several thousand customers who visited the 208,000-square-foot Evans Wal-Mart in its opening days.
"This is one of the prettiest Wal-Marts I've ever seen or worked for," said Patrick Clifford, the store's manager.
Clifford said that about 7,000 people went through the checkout line in the store's first day.
"We were real pleased," he said. "With it being the middle of the week and not a weekend, we were very, very happy.
"The customers were wonderful. They had nothing but positive things to say. We think it's going to be a good relationship here."
Employees of the new Wal-Mart participate in the opening ceremony.
Photos by Jim Blaylock
Angie Ethridge of Augusta also said she enjoyed the store. She typically goes to the Wal-Mart on Bobby Jones Expressway but said she wanted to see what the new location had to offer.
"I'm sure I'll be back," she said, adding that her favorite part of the store was the deli and the McDonald's.
Walking to her car, she did encounter one problem. Not only is the store large, she said, but so is the parking lot.
"I'm just trying to find out where to put my shopping cart right now," she said with a laugh.
The store will be open 24 hours a day and also includes agrocery store, pharmacy, hair salon, nail salon, portrait studio, embroidery shop and candy boutique.
At Wednesday's grand opening, employees got into the act. Jim Bell, manager of the sporting goods department, led a couple of hundred customers in prayer, and produce manager Rodney Baker sang the national anthem.
"Not only can he sell a lot of produce, he can sing a wonderful song," Clifford said.
Also at the grand-opening ceremony, Wal-Mart officials gave away more than $10,000, including $1,000 to the United Way; $1,000 to Gibbs Library; $1,000 to Riverside Middle School; $1,000 to the Children's Miracle Network; $1,000 to Greenbrier High School; $500 to Stevens Creek Elementary School; and donations to the Columbia County Sheriff's Department and Martinez Fire Department.
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