Walmart officially opens its doors

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Photo above: Traffic was smooth and drivers well-behaved after the official grand opening of Walmart on May 17 on Lady’s Island. However, traffic picked up in the area as the week wore on. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Staff reports 

Walmart on Lady’s Island has officially opened its doors and the megastore has been continually busy since.

Although traffic was smooth on the first day, it has since picked up quite a bit, according to various people who reported on the traffic on Facebook.

However, Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling pointed out in his weekly newsletter that jobs may help reduce traffic.

“The Walmart is a Walmart, but one of the most unusual sites was to see about 300 new hires among residents of Lady’s and St. Helena islands who will no longer have to leave the island for a daily commute to Hardeeville, Bluffton or Hilton Head Island for the same wages they can make closer to home,” he said. “Though modest in the scheme of things, that will mitigate some of the rush hour congestion on Lady’s Island.”

Meanwhile, Walmart announced its full-year investment plan for South Carolina, including multi-million dollar capital investments in improving existing stores/clubs by remodeling more than 10 locations across the state. 

The Walmart location on Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort will undergo remodeling this year.

“2017 is going to be an exciting year for Walmart in South Carolina as we continue to focus on how to better serve our customers through innovation and investments so they can save both time and money,” said Sean Real, Walmart regional general manager in South Carolina, in a press release. “We’ve had a sharp focus on making our store experience second to none and our customers are telling us that our plan is working. Our team is energized and we’re looking forward to exceeding our customer’s expectations for what a great Walmart shopping experience can be like.”

Walmart also says it is continuing its commitment to hire military veterans for a total of more than 4,200 veterans hired in South Carolina since launching the Walmart Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013.

Additionally, 22 local nonprofits across the state were awarded a total of $755,000 in grants from the Walmart State Giving Program.

The Low Country Food Bank, which serves Beaufort County and nine other coastal counties, received a $50,000 state-giving grant in FY2017.

According to Walmart, it has donated more than 16 million pounds of food to local South Carolina food banks – equivalent to 13.3 million meals . Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $50 million toward hunger relief in FY2017, including $162,250 for after-school and breakfast in the classroom programs in South Carolina, of which $65,500 went to schools and youth development organizations located in Beaufort County.

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