Rifle Wal-Mart opens Wednesday | PostIndependent.com

Rifle Wal-Mart opens Wednesday

Rifle’s Wal-Mart Supercenter opens for business at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, and its 340 employees will join a world-wide work force of 1.3 million.

The Rifle store is one of 38 to open in the United States on Oct. 29, including seven each in Texas and Florida, one in Grand Junction, and stores in ones and twos in 21 states from Rhode Island to California, according to the company’s Web site.

The Rifle opening will be marked by 7:30 a.m. ceremonies featuring remarks from Mayor Keith Lambert, the color guard from American Legion Post No. 78, and the Rifle High School band playing the national anthem.

A Coca-Cola Monster Truck and Pepsi Cola race car will also roll in for the festivities.

“It’s going to be a good time,” said Wal-Mart spokesperson Suzanne Haney from her office at company headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

The 156,786-square-foot store will sell general merchandise, groceries and tires. There will also be an automotive lube shop, vision center, one-hour photo service, portrait studio, hair salon and pharmacy.

“The self-serve check out stands will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight,” Haney said. “And they accept the new 20-dollar bill.”

Store manager Will Erickson, who comes to Rifle from the Greeley store, said he received more than 1,200 applications for the 340 job openings. He declined to reveal the hourly pay scale for the store’s workers.

Federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour.

Erickson said about 60 percent of the store’s workers are from the Rifle area, with the rest from Silt, New Castle, Parachute, Glenwood, and a handful from Meeker. Approximately 40 workers transferred to the Rifle store from other stores.

Erickson said Wal-Mart always opens its new stores on a Wednesday. He’s not exactly sure why, but speculated it’s because Wednesday is typically the slow part of the shopping week, and it allows workers to become familiar with the store before the weekend.

The Rifle Wal-Mart is located south of Interstate 70 in Rifle Commons shopping center.

Mayor Lambert said the city has worked for years to bring major retailers to town. One reason was to bring the city’s retail base up to meet its population of approximately 5,000 people.

“The community has cried out for more retail services,” Lambert said. “We’ve lacked that retail base for a number of years.”

Lambert said the city expects Wal-Mart to generate $700,000 in sales taxes in its first year of operation. That translates to $30 to $35 million in sales per year, he said.

Wednesday’s opening ceremonies begin a half hour before the doors open. Lambert, a school teacher, said he won’t be able to stick around and do any shopping Wednesday, but another family member might.

“I’ll let my wife do the spending,” Lambert said. “And she will.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534


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