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Walmart to open in North Smithfield, close in Woonsocket

August 21, 2011

NORTH SMITHFIELD - Walmart will close its Woonsocket store on Diamond Hill Road on Tuesday, Sept. 13, one day before the retail giant opens its larger store in North Smithfield at Dowling Village, about five miles away.
Walmart took formal possession of the North Smithfield building at Dowling Village on Aug. 8. The new store, located at 7 Eddie Dowling Highway, plans to open to shoppers at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
With construction on the new store finished, the retailer will spend the next five weeks transforming the empty building into a Walmart superstore complete with a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of merchandise and services.
The new 24-hour “supercenter” in North Smithfield will be about 200,000 square feet, stock everything a Walmart discount store does, and feature a full service supermarket that includes a meat section, deli, produce, bakery and frozen foods.
"We can't wait to open and offer Walmart's unbeatable prices and a convenient shopping option for our community," said store manager Dan Busha, who is overseeing the work at the store.
Busha has been employed by Walmart for the past six years, starting out as an hourly associate loading trucks at the Walmart store in Putnam, Connecticut. He was store manager for the Walmart in Hooksett, N.H. before taking the helm at the new North Smithfield store.
Upon its opening, the store plans to employ approximately 300 associates. Many of the newly-hired associates — about 100 so far — are now reporting to work to help prepare the store for its grand opening.
"We've been busy putting up general fittings and getting our merchandise and products in," said Shift Manager Cindy Gamache, adding the store is recieving upwards of 10,000 pieces of new product a day.
There are about 100 workers at the new site, including new hires and employees from the Walmart home office and surrounding stores.
"We're trying to get ready so that we're good to go on Sept. 14," said Gamache, a Woonsocket native and 17-year Walmart employee, who helped open the Woonsocket store in 1994.
Walmart spokesman Christopher N. Buchanan said earlier this week that the retailer had not yet determined when it would close the 82,000-square-foot Woonsocket store, saying the site was still currently under discussion while the North Smithfield store was being constructed.
But Gamache confirmed Friday that the Woonsocket store will close at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
Early this year, Buchanan said Walmart employees from the Woonsocket store would have the option of working in North Smithfield.
Woonsocket officials have estimated that the city could lose $300,000 a year in property taxes once Walmart - the city's seventh largest taxpayer - closes the Diamond Hill Road store.
As recently as last month, Woonsocket Economic Development Director Matthew Wojcik said he had had no contact with Walmart for over a year, since city officials attempted to persuade the company to operate stores in Dowling Village and the city simultaneously, arguing that the two would serve different markets. Wal-mart refused, confirming that it would eventually shut down the East Woonsocket store.
Dowling Village, a 133-acre, $85 million mixed-use development, is located on Route 146A on the Woonsocket city line. Phase One of Dowling Village was completed with the opening of an 18,000-square-foot CVS pharmacy in 2008. The North Smithfield Planning Board approved the master plan for the remaining three phases of the massive shopping complex in November of 2009. Town officials had always speculated that a Super Walmart and Lowe's home improvement store would occupy the two largest buildings on the Dowling Village property.
In the meantime,Walmart continues to hire both full- time and part-time associates to work in all areas of the new store. Gamache said interested applicants can apply online at www.walmartstores.com or at any surrounding Walmart store.

Comments

walmart

August 23, 2011 by johnlev7 (not verified), 3 years 6 days ago
Comment: 569

wtg idiots of woonsocket you should take the tax money youll be missing from the morons who want to save the wetlands i cant blame walmart for moving and lowes too this city is on the move alright right down the toilet with all the higher taxes and mismanegment worse streets in the state,lack of lighting on our streets,soon this will be a welfare haven, get a chimp to run for mayer hed win this one hasnt done anything anyway, want to save the wetlands move to louisiana or the florida keys.cant wait to see CVS move out too.your suppose to bring buisnesses in not chase them out jerks

SHAME on Woonsocket Officials!!!

August 22, 2011 by abmtwolf (not verified), 3 years 6 days ago
Comment: 566

How often do you ever heard of a Walmart closing? Personally, I never have. BUT leave it to Woonsocket officials to make everything difficult for Walmart when they tried to enlarge into a super store. Wouldn't discounted food help your community. SHAME on your elected officials who did everything to stop their progress. Now you have one less business to tax! The stupidity is mind-boggling. With Walmart gone, many of your other businesses on Diamond Hill will soon fail. It's about time all these long standing politicians be voted OUT. You know....those whose names that have been around awhile.... Folks, you need to take control of your community. Take a stand against these people who are ruining your city.... We can't sit back any longer.

Property taxes...

August 21, 2011 by Marcel (not verified), 3 years 1 week ago
Comment: 565

Why will Woonocket lose $300,000 in property taxes from Walmart? Just because they close the store in East Woonsocket doesn't excuse them from paying the property taxes on this property they own. I also agree with the Woonsocket economic development department, that Walmart on the east side does cater to a different base of consumers from that end of the city and southern MA communities bordering the northern part Rhode Island.

If Walmart feels their eastside customers will come to the new store, traffic in Woonsocket is going to be a doozy... All those chronic jaywalkers beware and they better look both ways before jumping off the curb.

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