SOUTH FORSYTH — Even in its first few hours, the new Walmart in south Forsyth seemed to be drawing a lot of customers.
The 177,000-square-foot store at Peachtree and Mathis Airport parkways officially opened Wednesday morning. Manager Zane McCusker said it was a great sight to see customers entering.
“It was a big relief to get somebody running that first transaction because there’s been so much anxiety and excitement about just getting the doors open,” McCusker said.
“The reception I’ve received so far from the customers has been really positive. I think they were as excited and anxious about getting the doors open as we have been.”
McCusker said the facility employs about 280 full- and part-time crew members, many of whom are retirees. About 10 percent are veterans hired through a special initiative.
The new store features a full grocery, revamped electronics area and pharmacy. There are also hair and nail salons, a business center and a Subway shop.
According to McCusker, the Walmart also offers several “service areas” that have been phased out of most stores, such as fabric cutting, paint mixing, key cutting and ammunition sales. It does not, however, offer an automotive repair center.
Besides the store layout, some other differences include a more stripped-down, warehouse appearance with open beams in the roof and finished concrete floors. It also boosts some energy-efficient mechanisms, such as motion-activated lighting in the freezer areas and a specialized cooling system in refrigerators.
As part of the opening, McCusker said $1,000 checks were presented to the South Forsyth High School marching band and the Lambert cheerleading squads.
Donations also were made to the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and the Cumming Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.
“I’m a part of the community and I want to see this store be successful,” McCusker said. “And I want the community to see us as an option to fill all their needs … see us as the solution to save money.”