Walmart Express opens in Liberty
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LIBERTY -- It was a small town celebration for the new Walmart Express in Liberty. The store is the first of its kind to open in this region and locals are excited about the addition.
"Never would think a brand name store would be here," Tabitha Schenkel said. "Especially Walmart."
"Oh we're glad to have this in this small town," Tammi Barker said. "We need it."
Liberty is a town of about 2,600 people, with an unemployment rate hovering just under 10 percent.
"There's a lot of people out of work," Ruby Cruse said. "People struggling every day. It's a lot of people out of work."
Mayor Terry Caviness said Walmart will invest one to two million dollars into the community as well as 35 new jobs.
"We've been kind of in a lull for the past few years," Caviness said. "So I'm hoping that by this Walmart being here, it's going to attract these people that have been traveling to Forest Oaks, Siler City, Asheboro, Burlington, for groceries, for their fuel, for their drugs."
The Walmart Express is only a fourth of the size of a regular store at just 14,000 square feet.
"It is smaller, but I seem to see everything still here, all of the different departments," Schenkel said.
Inside, the space has room for a pharmacy, groceries and general merchandise. Outside people can fill up on gas.
"I think it's gonna make their living a lot easier," store manager Patty Kearns said. "They will not have to go out to a supercenter."
And even though this Walmart Express is operating on a smaller scale, some locals have feared that this chain would bring down business in other areas.
"Some people think this is going to hurt the town," Caviness said. "Well it's not gonna hurt the town. I'm hoping that we can attract some more similar, but different business entities to town."
Making life in Liberty a little more convenient.