A project that interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May described as having been “on-off, on-off, on-off, for quite a while” was definitely on the morning of Oct. 2 as he, along with other elected officials, community leaders and Walmart officials opened a Walmart Superstore on Mall Parkway near the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia.
“People have wanted a good grocery store in this area for a long time. We’ve talked about it for quite a while,” May said. “Now we’re excited about the jobs that have been created and about the continued growth in this vibrant Stonecrest Corridor.”
While the store that opened Oct. 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony offers a full line of groceries, including fresh produce with organic and natural selections, it is more than a grocery store. It has a bakery, a full-service deli and prepared meals. The 148,000-square-foot retail facility also has general merchandise such as clothing, jewelry, electronics, hardware, toys and health and beauty items. It has lawn and garden items, a vision center, a pharmacy and a photo processing department.
Store Manager John Moreno described the store as bringing “one-stop shopping convenience for [customers’] grocery and general merchandise needs.” After the ribbon-cutting, customers who had been waiting outside for the 7:30 a.m. opening flooded into the store.
The Walmart is the newest addition to the growing list of retail stores, restaurants, service stores and motels that have come to the Stonecrest Corridor since the Mall at Stonecrest opened 12 years ago.
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson spoke of the community partnership between county government and Walmart, which with the Stonecrest store brings 300 new jobs to the area. “We are making a commitment to provide public safety, transportation and other support amenities,” he said.
The store is expected to bring $4.5 million in sales tax annually, according to Walmart officials.
The grand-opening celebration also included presentations of $8,000 in grants from Walmart to local community groups. State Sen. Ronald Ramsey noted that Walmart in the past has given food to help families in need, a tradition the new store has committed to continuing. “During the past year, Walmart helped more than 100 families in need from this area,” he said.
The facility opened with festivities that included snacks provided by such companies as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Tasty Kake, Community Coffee, Bimbo—makers of Sara Lee products—and others. Store associates danced with elected officials as students from nearby Arabia Mountain High School joined in.
“I’m proud to have been chosen to manage this new store,” said Moreno, who began his Walmart career in 2005 as a sales associate in the produce department in Madison, Ga. “I’m excited to train our associates from the ground up, the Walmart way.”
Store officials continued the celebration on Oct. 5 with what they called a Big Family Welcome for area residents. Family activities included face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples.
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