Shoppers flock to Stonecrest for Super Walmart grand opening
10/4/2013, 6:40 a.m.
LITHONIA Janice Warner had been waiting for months for the new Stonecrest Super Walmart to open, and on Oct. 2, she was among the first customers who descended on the store after an 8 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I am glad that they put this store here,” said Warner, who lives near the intersection of Browns Mill and Klondike roads in Lithonia.
Warner said she used to go to the Fairington Road Walmart, but no more.
“It’s so congested over there and so much traffic,” she said as she picked up packs of vegetables down the frozen food aisle.
With the extensive grocery and fresh produce in the new store, Warner said she also plans to ditch Publix and Kroger.
“Walmart’s prices are better,” she said. “This is going to be my store now.”
The 148,000-square-foot store at 8424 Mall Parkway is the second Super Walmart to open in South DeKalb this year. Store 4472 comes on the heels of the Memorial Drive-South Hairston Walmart that opened in June.
They join Super Walmart stores on Fairington Road in Lithonia, Columbia Drive in Decatur, Gresham Road in Atlanta, and on U.S. 78 in Stone Mountain.
A third store – a 42,362-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market – is scheduled to open on Nov. 13 in the Covington Corners Shopping Center at Covington Highway and Panola Road, also in Lithonia. The smaller Walmart store is the first of its kind to open in southeast DeKalb. It will focus on groceries and will add 60 new jobs for supervisors and full- and part-time sales associates.
During the Stonecrest store’s grand opening, store manager John Moreno said he and his team of 300 managers and associates are proud to be in Stonecrest.
“Thank you for helping us make this a reality,” he said.
DeKalb interim CEO Lee May, District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson, and state Sen. Ronald Ramsey welcomed the new store and the 300 new full- and part-time jobs it brings to the county.
“The people in Stonecrest have been yearning for a grocery store,” May said. “We are excited to see the store open to serve the needs of the Greater Lithonia area.”
“We are elated to have you here in the Stonecrest community,” Watson said.
Ramsey said Walmart is already a great community partner, helping him to feed 100 residents over the holiday season for the past five years in his district that includes portions of DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties.
“I come to congratulate you on the opening of the store,” he said.
Karen Brewer, Walmart’s North Georgia regional general manager, said they are excited about coming to the Stonecrest area.
“Walmart is committed to providing a well-managed, convenient shopping experience,” she said.
With the opening of the new store, she said Walmart has 51,000 associates in Georgia and that the Stonecrest store will generate about $4.9 million in sales tax.
The ribbon-cutting included food sample giveaways from Walmart vendors, line dancing, a performance by the Lithonia Middle School Chorus, and the Arabia Mountain Marching Rams “Funk Machine” Band.
Regina Walker, who was shopping with her Gates Gourmet co-worker Lillie Peters right after the doors opened, said she lives 10 minutes away.
“It’s close and convenient,” she said, “and the prices are very good.”
Antonio Gibbs, who came from the nearby Sigman Road exit in Conyers, said the store is close to his home four miles away.
Gibbs came in search of a mop, which he didn’t find, but he shopped for groceries.
“For a senior citizen like me, this is wonderful,” he said. “It offers more choices and they have a big variety of items.”
The festivities continue for three weekends featuring live radio remotes, appearances by the Braves and the Hawks, a book signing by Terrence Jenkins, samples and giveaways from Walmart vendors.
On Oct. 5, the store hosts a Family Fun Day from noon to 3 p.m. to introduce Moreno and his management team to the community. Activities include face painting, cupcake decorating, and free food samples from Walmart vendors while supplies last.
Fans of the My Local Walmart Facebook page at www.facebook.com/walmart4472 can receive information about rollbacks, in-store events, and meal solutions. For more information, visit www.walmart.com.