Between 300 and 400 people turned out for the ceremonial ribbon cutting and grand opening of Augusta's newly relocated Walmart store Wednesday morning.
The new store at 719 W. 7th is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will provide Augusta residents with shopping convenience for their grocery and general merchandise needs. The new store will also offer pharmacy services.
Store manager Don Kendrick welcomed the crowd, "I want to thank everyone for coming - city dignitaries, the Chamber of Commerce and the Augusta High School Marching Band. I am pleased to offer this new store to the Augusta community."
Kendrick recognized the 190 associates - 120 are new employees - who work in the Augusta location and their dedication in getting the new facility ready for the opening.
Mayor Kristey Williams spoke briefly, "It's a beautiful day for opening this new store, which represents the third largest employment of Augusta. Walmart has been a great community partner in Augusta for more than 30 years providing both quality jobs and merchandise," Mayor Williams continued, "Since 1980 Augusta has enjoyed the job base and economic benefits of Walmart - where each family can stretch their dollars further. It is now the cornerstone of our 7th St. corridor. It's a beautiful corner."
In keeping with Walmart's community partnership, the company and the Walmart Foundation presented grants to the Augusta Community Caring Center, Ewalt Elementary School, and the Augusta Historical Society.
Following two patriotic tunes by the AHS Band, the opening remarks, and the Walmart Cheer by the store associates, the official ribbon cutting was held and the doors were opened. The waiting crowd moved quickly inside the new 120,000 square foot store.
The local Walmart will host A Big Family Welcome celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, and will give customers a chance to meet Kendrick and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last.
(check later for more photos of the event)