The third Walmart to open in Columbia County will do so just in time for the holiday season.
The Walmart that will anchor the Gateway shopping center near Grovetown on Horizon South Parkway at Interstate 20 will open Wednesday morning.
"More foot traffic is always good," said Dale Wooten, the store manager. "During that time of year (the holidays), we have more than any time of year."
The store will remain open 24 hours daily and contains all the amenities of a Supercenter, which includes a full-service grocery department, he said.
The store's most frequently shopped departments are aligned together, according to a news release.
"The pharmacy has been conveniently located along the grocery main aisle with all the other consumable areas," Wooten said. "That way you can get your prescription filled as you shop."
Work on the store started in August 2008. Walmart's ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, with the store set to open to customers at 8 a.m.
Members of Grovetown High School's band and chorus will perform the national anthem during the ceremony. Nearly $20,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation will be presented to several area schools and organizations during the grand opening, according to the release.
"In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its store, merchandising and customer experience," according to the release. "The improvements have all come together in the company's newest stores, such as the Grovetown Walmart, with faster service, a friendlier shopping experience and cleaner stores."
Wooten said the 156,000-square-foot store will not have a vision or tire and lube center, but customers will find a hair salon and Subway restaurant in the store.
The store's customer service desk, photo lab and site-to-store pick-up location will be combined into one area at the front of the store, he said.
"It's just a cleaner, more open store, and it's a lot more convenient to shop for the female customer," he said. "It's real easy for her to get in and get out in a quick time."
The Grovetown Walmart will house more than 30 merchandise departments, including an expanded electronics department.
The store will open with 288 employees, but Wooten said that number likely will increase to about 315 during the holidays.
He said he believes more businesses will locate in the surrounding areas after Walmart opens. He also noted that the store is located in a fast-growing area.
"I think that with the access to the interstate there and that location, it just kind of worked out," he said.
The Gateway shopping center likely will include a restaurant and gas station next to the Walmart, developers for the project previously said.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
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