“Hey! Guys, you know it’s time to shop!” yelled cheerleaders from Lewis Frasier Middle School during the grand opening of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on East Gen. Stewart Way in Hinesville Wednesday morning.
The new grocery store, located behind Ole Times Country Buffet and Dairy Queen, is open 24 hours and features a full-service and drive-thru pharmacy, deli, bakery and fuel station.
The store also gave $8,000 in community grants from Wal-Mart’s charitable foundation to several local organizations, including Hineshouse, Foster Care Support Foundation, Lewis Frasier Middle School, United Military Care and Wreaths for Warriors Walk.
“Anytime that we bring a business into our town that hires a hundred people to work in it, that’s a big day in Hinesville, Georgia,” Mayor Allen Brown said.
“It’s been a lot of work, a lot of fun, but a lot of work in the end,” said store manager Doris Delgado about finally opening the store.
During the ceremony, store pharmacist Louis Scavo said Wal-Mart has a commitment to the community.
“We have three stores in this community; we feel strong about it. They’re different varieties of stores,” he said. “This store is a smaller format. I think it will enhance everybody’s enjoyment of shopping.”
Scavo told the crowd to look around the store and “realize that we didn’t hire a crew from out of town to put this store together. This store was put together by these people. We’re here to help, and we want to make sure that we realize that it’s — we’re working as a company within the community. They have pride, my staff has pride, everybody here has pride.”
He added, “Please come to us. We’re here for you, and we want to do the best we can to make this a successful business and support the community.”
Delgado, flanked by Brown and Liberty County Commissioners Chairman Donald Lovette, cut the ribbon, and the crowd then began to retrieve shopping carts and explore the store.
The store offers a convenient location for necessities such as food beyond what is sold in convenience stores.
“And especially in this community right here, there is nothing once you get here. So we’re hoping just, you know, reach all the way out to Fort Stewart and out” to Midway, Delgado said.
Melvin Elliott of Hinesville, who shopped at the store just after the grand opening, said buying his groceries there was wonderful and convenient and that the store looked good.
“I’ll be using it more weekly, daily, going throughout the week,” he said.
Tara Bellamy of Hinesville, who also shopped after the grand opening, said it would be her primary grocery store.
“I like the store. I mean it’s convenient, and you don’t have to worry about going to the really big Wal-Mart, dealing with all the crowds and lines,” she said. “And so this is like a in-and-out type of experience.”
Bellamy said she saw the selections in the deli and bakery and loved the fresh pizzas the store offers.