ATLANTA - A new Walmart superstore opened in northwest Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood Wednesday.
Channel 2’s Linda Stouffer went to the store around noon, and it was packed with shoppers. Customers called it a welcome addition to the neighborhood, saying it’s an opportunity for jobs and economic growth.
“The location is very good. You don’t have to go from one county to another county. We’re right here in our own little county, putting money back into our own little county,” shopper Vanessa Johnson said.
She and her husband, Henry, used to drive for miles to shop for their grandchildren.
The neighborhood had been lacking a grocery store since 2009 when a Publix closed over subpar sales.
“When you have a Walmart here like this, when you have a store of this size providing this array of goods and services, that means you’ve got people coming, and so that’s a great signal to other businesses – large and small – in this area, that this is a place to stay,” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell said.
The store, on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, brought 100 new jobs, and Walmart promised to hire local employees first.
“Over 50 percent of the people hired for this store (were) hired from the three ZIP codes around here,” Walmart spokesman Glen Wilkins said.
Councilman Michael Julian Bond said he's moved by the new hope for the historic area along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
“(It’s) not just a store, there's a historical, and almost spiritual component. It was the right thing to do. It was a good corporate decision, and the community has embraced them,” Bond said.