Gainesville’s newest Wal-Mart Super Center, located between state Route 441 and NW 23rd Street, had its grand opening ceremony Friday at 7:30 a.m.
The new center opened in conjunction with the closing of the Wal-Mart at 2649 NW 13th St., which had been in business for 30 years.
Glen Wilkins, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. senior manager of public affairs and government relations, said the new store, located at 5700 NW 23rd St., was built to satisfy customers who wanted the variety and convenience of a Super Center without having to drive to the Waldo Road store.
Store manager Kami Tate said the new location has a lot to offer customers.
“We have the full line of groceries now,” Tate said. “We have fresh produce, deli, bakery, meat. We have the vision center, which people are excited about. I think the broader assortment is going to bring in a different mix of customers.”
District 2 City Commissioner Todd Chase said the Wal-Mart will bring more awareness to the area and encourage more development.
For state Rep. Clovis Watson (D-District 20), the benefits of the new location outweighed the costs.
“Any time that you can bring in a large corporate partner that will employ hundreds of people and change the lives of many, the investment much outweighs the cost of bringing in such a large corporate partner,” Watson said.
The store will employ about 300 people, 70 of whom will fill openings created by the new location.
Wilkins said approvals for zoning and land use, the design of the store and road construction took years.
“It can be a long process,” Wilkins said, “but it’s worth it.”
Emily Stanton wrote this story online.