Sam's Club expanding store

Construction is returning to the Village Plaza on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Wal-Mart expanded into a Supercenter last year and now the other anchor tenant, Sam’s Club, will be undergoing an expansion, it was announced this morning.

Sam’s Club will be adding 20,000 square feet to the store, giving it room to add a pharmacy, optician, photo lab and more product offerings, said Glen Wilkins, a Wal-Mart regional spokesman.

“It is going to be a better looking store and have better offerings inside,” he said.

Sam’s Club will create a gas station close to the expressway too.

The project should get underway in October, Mr. Wilkins said, and take a year to finish.

Mr. Wilkins did not reveal how much the company was spending on the expansion, nor did he know how many new employees the store will add.

The company is planning parking lot improvements, including trees, and will be moving the front entrance to the corner of the building to make it closer to more parking spaces.

The expansion will take place in the alley between Sam’s Club and Tractor Supply Co.

A portion of the Tractor Supply’s garden center will be lost to the project, said Cindy Hicks, vice president of leasing and development for U.S. Properties Group, which owns the shopping center.

Along with the Sam’s Club project, U.S. Properties Group is planning a facelift for the rest of the shopping center between the anchor stores.

Ms. Hicks said it will be tenant-driven, meaning the incoming and existing tenants will renovate the exterior of their spaces. The group will be doing the renovation at Tractor Supply as part of the bargain to take part of its garden center for Sam’s Club, she explained.

“We had a lot of national tenants that were interested in the shopping center, but the components were whether Wal-Mart would expand, which they have done, and whether Sam’s would expand,” Ms. Hicks said.

She said the expansion of both stores started a decade ago.

Sam’s Club will remain open during the expansion construction.

“We’ll make it as easy as can be,” Mr. Wilkins said.

It is one of the oldest Sam’s Club stores in the region, yet one of the busiest, ranking in the top two for sales volume in a three-state region, said Mike Thompson, market manager. Sam’s Club opened in 1989.

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