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Walmart opens new store

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Retailer moves up Route 9 to larger home

GREENPORT–The new Walmart opened for business early Wednesday morning, September 16, at the Widewaters Commons plaza on the east side of Route 9 near the Stockport line. The company says the new store, which will include a Walmart supermarket, will result in “approximately 100 new positions.”

Walmart is moving out of the building it previously occupied less than a mile south on the west side of the highway. The company opened that store in 1994 and said in a press release that “several of the store’s associates have worked at the Hudson Walmart since its original opening.” The new store covers nearly 125,000 square feet, making it 29,000 square feet larger than the old store. It will be open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Walmart shared its old plaza with the Price Chopper grocery story. Asked what plans Price Chopper has now that Walmart has moved out, Mona Golub, spokeswoman for the supermarket chain, said this week, “We have no intention of moving from where we are.”

The new plaza, which initially ran into opposition from some county residents worried about traffic congestion and other impacts on the community, was built by the Widewaters Group of DeWitt near Syracuse. The company also built the plaza in Kinderhook that houses the Hannaford supermarket. The Widewaters Plaza in Greenport will also host a Lowe’s home improvement store, now under construction.

The new Walmart anticipates employing 280 people, whom the company calls “associates.” It says the average wage for full-time hourly associates in New York is approximately $11.78 per hour as of February of this year. The company said that benefits, which are available to “eligible full- and part-time associates” include health insurance with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers a 401(k) plan and profit sharing programs, among other benefits.

Neither the public relations firm nor the Walmart press office could say how many of the new jobs will be full-time positions. They directed questions to store manager Scott Louer, who was not available for comment before the press deadline for The Columbia Paper.

Philip Serghini, a Walmart spokesman, said he was not certain whether Walmart owned the building it just vacated, but he said a team of company real estate specialists has “already begun the process of marketing the property.” He said it is company policy to find new owners quickly because “We don’t want a dark store there any length of time.”

In conjunction with the opening, the Walmart Foundation has announced $15,000 in grants to seven local organizations:

*Catholic Charities of Columbia and Greene Counties, $2,500 for its food pantry

*Columbia Opportunities Inc., $2,500 for community food pantry

*Community Hospice Foundation Inc., $2,000

*Hudson Boys & Girls Club Inc., $2,000

*Columbia Greene Humane Society Inc., $2,000

*Town of Greenport Police Department $2,000

*Greenport Rescue Squad $2,000.

The company is emphasizing its use of“environmentally friendly features” at the store that reduce energy and water consumption and waste. The store’s skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75% daily, according to the release. LED lighting in the store operates 70% more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floor’s finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms. The company says the new store will also operate a recycling program and will promote sustainable product purchases.

Among the improvements offered by the new store are wider aisles and an alignment of the departments that Walmart says customers shop most frequently. “The layout of the store is easy to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for everyday necessities,” said Mr. Louer in the release.

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