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Salem Road Walmart opens doors today
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The new Walmart at the intersection of Brown Bridge and Salem Roads will open for business around 8 a.m. today, following an official grand opening ceremony at 7 a.m.

Chairman Kathy Morgan will be the keynote speaker and several Walmart executives will be in attendance for the official ribbon cutting. The Newton County Sheriff's Office will present the colors.

The 176,000 square-foot building will employ 314 workers, about 90 percent of whom are Newton County residents. The store will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.

The store will have a Subway, a hair salon and an optical center, in addition to traditional Supercenter amenities, including a grocery, bakery, deli, produce section, garden center, pharmacy and tire and battery section. The store will sell beer and wine, but not firearms, Shawn Cohen, a Walmart regional human resource manager, said previously.

Manager Ron Tillman, a local resident, said he was excited to see the store finally open.

"We're just excited to be available for the public; we know they're hungry for this location," Tillman said Tuesday. "We're excited to be able to serve them."

Local officials were invited to a V.I.P. event Sunday evening, where Tillman awarded $500 grants to seven local organizations, including Newton County Fire Services, the sheriff's office, Prospect United Methodist Church, West Newton Elementary, Veterans Memorial Middle, Eastside High and Newton High schools.

District 2 Commissioner Lanier Sims and Chamber Chairwoman Michelle Bryant-Johnson were the guest speakers. Walmart also provided entertainment, including a professional singer and a local dance team.

"We thank all the visitors for coming out to the preview of our store," Tillman said. "We wanted to show the local dignitaries and citizens what we've done here at this location."

Chairman Morgan said previously the rule of thumb for an established Supercenter - one that's been open for three to five years - is that it will generate $1 million in revenue for each one percent of sales tax.

"The need is there in western Newton; hopefully, this will help stop the bleed (of sales tax dollars)," she said previously.