Between 500 and 1,000 shoppers took advantage of giveaways and free food samples within two hours of the 148,000-square-foot store’s opening at 3338 Wrightsboro Road, on the corner of Wrightsboro and North Leg roads, said its manager, Rodney Baker.
Roxann Dickinson, who lives on the Hill, said she plans to fill her grocery needs once a week at the new store.
Previously, she would do her grocery shopping farther away at either Kroger or Publix on Washington Road.
Dickinson was happy to have a Wal-Mart less than 5 miles away from her house because, she said, the prices are better than most grocery stores.
“I think we needed one closer like this one,” she said. “Everything is going out to Columbia County.”
The new store marks the eighth Supercenter in Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties.
The store, which employs about 300 associates, is smaller than the typical 182,000-square-foot Supercenter format and doesn’t include a gas station or auto care center. A traffic light recently was added on Wrightsboro Road in front of the store.
When the Wrightsboro Road site was announced in 2012, a company spokesman said that the surrounding area is densely populated, giving it an opportunity to better serve customers.
“They can make as many as they want as far as I’m concerned,” said Ruth Willis, who came from Aiken to the new store, “as long as it’s decent like this and everybody’s friendly. That’s fine with me.”
Willis made the 30-minute trip with her husband and service dog and arrived just after the store opened at 7:30 a.m. She had filled her cart up to the rim with clothes, bedding, cookware, dog food and accessories to decorate her new house.
For Margaret Solomon, who lives just minutes away on Belair Road, the new store means she’ll have a shorter drive than to the Wal-Mart on Bobby Jones Expressway, where she typically shopped.
“I can almost walk here,” said Solomon, adding that she visits Wal-Mart for the sales. “They put it in the right place.”
Other Wal-Mart regulars, such as Marilyn Grey and Cozie Coleman, both of whom live a few miles away, said the Wrightsboro Road store was more convenient and fills a gap in grocery options on that side of town.
“I just think it was needed,” said Coleman, who has frequented the Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road. “It makes you want to go to other stores (nearby).”
Wal-Mart is building a second Supercenter in North Augusta at Sweetwater Square shopping center on Edgefield Road near Interstate 20. The 158,000-square-foot store is expected to open this fall with about 300 employees.
In October, the mega-retailer unveiled the area’s first Neighborhood Market on Evans to Locks Road in Martinez.