PITTSBURG — It was a lively ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market on the corner of Rouse and Centennial in Pittsburg Wednesday morning.
Over 100 people attended the 7:30 a.m. ribbon cutting put on by the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I think it completely changed the landscape of this corner,” chamber President Blake Benson said.
Benson is also the city’s economic developer director. Wearing that hat, he added another grocery store is a good indicator to the strength of Pittsburg’s economy.
During the ceremony, Walmart gave donations to local organizations: $1,500 to Pittsburg Middle School and YMCA, and $2,500 to Wesley House and the Pittsburg Fire Department.
Chief Mike Simons said the money allows the department to purchase roughly 200 smoke detectors. The smoke detectors will replenish an exhausted program which offers free smoke detectors to homeowners in need.
“It’s a blessing to the community,” Simons said.
Just like that, with the clenching of scissors, the new Walmart was open for business.
“It’s way more convenient, we live on this side of town,” said Ellen Biggs, one of the first customers, who bought milk and Frosted Flakes.
The new store adds 95 new full and part-time jobs. Store Manager Phil VanKirk said this Walmart has amenities the Walmart on the opposite side of town does not, including a drive-thru pharmacy and a deli which makes fresh pizza.
“With up to 21 toppings,” he said. The location also features a four, double-sided pump gas station with unleaded regular priced at $1.48 a gallon on opening day — 17 cents cheaper than the adjacent gas station.
“We’re excited to finally get going. It’s been a long process,” VanKirk said.
The announcement for the 42,000 square foot facility came in April 2015. The company purchased at least two properties with buildings to construct the new store. The acquisition price was $1.91 million, according to an economic study done by faculty at Pittsburg State University’s Kelce College of Business.
The Walmart is a neighborhood market, which is about half the size of a supercenter like the one on Broadway Street. Both are open 24 hours.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.