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Salem Road Walmart to open early 2012, hire 200 employees
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Construction has started on a Walmart Supercenter at the intersection of Brown Bridge and Salem roads, and the store is expected to open in the first quarter of 2012.

The building will be 156,000 square feet, smaller than its traditional Supercenters, like the 204,000 square-foot location on Ga. Highway 142, said spokesman Glen Wilkins. It will have all the same amenities, including a grocery with bakery, deli and produce sections, as well as a garden center, vision center, pharmacy and tire and battery section. There will also be an eatery in the front of the store and two other businesses.

Walmart has been building smaller stores around the nation to increase efficiency and reduce footprint.
The store will employ around 200, mostly full time. Walmart generally sets up hiring centers, but those locations have not been chosen. Interviewing is expected to start in late fall, Wilkins said.

Some residents have expressed concern over increased traffic in an already congested area, but the store will have a separate access road between Brown Bridge and Salem roads, according to site plans. Wilkins said good traffic flow is a priority for Walmart, because poor traffic flow harms the customer experience.

The store will have 688 parking spaces, and is located on 26.73 acres. Wilkins said the store site was chosen based on customer feedback at existing stores.

"Customers don't like to travel to shop. We want to be there for them and provide a convenient shopping experience," Wilkins said recently. "The exact location was one we felt we could put a Walmart without impacting our current stores."

Walmart owns 33.58 acres at the intersection, and the site plans calls for four other parcels to be created, which would then be sold or rented out to other businesses. Walgreens is already located at the intersection.

The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce views the Salem Road corridor as one that could eventually house higher-end commercial development.