Walmart formally breaks ground weeks after construction crews began preparing the foundation for the future retail store site. City and county officials, Walmart representatives and members of the Castroville Area Chamber of Commerce gathered at the construction site off Highway 90 last Wednesday morning for the official groundbreaking ceremony. Walmart representatives had to postpone the original ceremony. “Attention Walmart shoppers,” said Mayor Jeff Gardner. “I’ve been waiting three years to say that.” Gardner said that Walmart is an economic engine that will benefit the community, and jump start finances for the city. He said that major retail store will bring in an estimate 300 jobs to the city, and generate a projected $800,000 in sales tax revenue for the city. “It means that we’re going to be able to do some things that we’ve been putting off for a long time like, perhaps, trying to fix our roads, pay for more of our capital projects sooner.” Gardner said. “And do some nice things. Maybe do a little bit more in our parks.” He added that the Walmart tends to attract other businesses to the area that see the increased traffic as an opportunity. Anne Hatfield, Walmart’s director of communications, spoke to this attractiveness.
Walmart to bring in $800,000 in sales tax and 300 new jobs
“Once we put a Walmart store up in a community we find that other businesses want to locate around us, and benefit from the foot traffic from one of our stores,” Hatfield said. “We’re happy, and frankly excited about being the source of that economic driver for a community.” One of those possible incoming businesses is Whataburger. which has remained dormant ever since demolishing Mona’s Tacos last year. Hatfield said that they have a projected completion date sometime in spring 2017, but two to three months before the store opens, she said that Walmart will open hiring center in Castroville where interested residents can apply for a job and meet the store manager. “Those folks will actually start working four to six weeks ahead of the store,” Hatfield said. “Once the structure is finished, the whole team will then start setting up the store and getting ready so there’s a lot of work to be clone.” She said that those four to six weeks helps build camaraderie among the team of employees. She said that the store will feature the amenities of most Walmart stores, with products ranging from clothing and electronics to household goods and outdoor products. The store will have an expanded grocery section, and redesigned tire and lube center. Online order pickup is now located at the front of the store as well. Hatfield said that the store will also utilize Walmart Pay, which allows customers to pay with their phone through their mobile app. The app will store the customer’s credit card or Walmart prepaid card information, and then they can open the app to pay when they’re ready to check out. The app also has security features like a password lock in place to ensure that the user’s information is secured, and the transaction is safely completed.