Whitewright Welcomes a New Walmart - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Whitewright Welcomes a New Walmart

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WHITEWRIGHT, TX-- People in one small North Texas town woke up early this morning, but not to watch the sun rise. They wanted to see the grand opening of their new Walmart.

For people in the town of Whitewright, this is a big deal, it's the area's first Walmart. Shoppers said they're thrilled to have a new place to grocery shop without having to leave town.

City leaders said the opening of a new Walmart represents big change for Whitewright, but they believe their town is ready for it.

"We are happy happy to have it here, its been a long time coming. It's a great asset for our community that's growing," Chamber of Commerce President Sheri Kent said.

If Wednesday morning's crowd is any indication, shoppers agree. Along with the convenience, the new store is creating jobs.

"I think it is a great opportunity for Whitewright. There's lots of jobs. I think it will be good for us," Shopper Ingrid Russell said.

Store manager, Jeff Robertson, said Walmart is bringing almost 40 jobs to the community.

"We have approximately 30 C.S.A, which is customer service associates and five supervisors," Store Manager Jeff Robertson said.

With the grand opening, Robertson said Walmart Foundation gives the community $2500 of grant money. The money went to the fire department, Chamber of Commerce, and to the Whitewright Elementary School.

Several of the store's workers say they transferred to be at this Walmart because of the smaller size and town.

"And it's not as big. Not as much to keep up with," Walmart Employee Rhonda Thompson said.

Local grocery stores like Dollar General and Pettit's Grocery had no comment about the new Walmart, but they used to be the place Whitewright got all of their grocery from.

And while Pettit's and Dollar General kept silent, their valued customers spoke up. Sandra Christian said she grew up shopping at Pettit's, and she doesn't mind paying a higher price for a personal connection while shopping.

"Walmart will still be on my list of shopping, but I still like the family owned businesses and the country feel. Going to Walmart you get a little bit less personable and I like the personal touch and personalities," Shopper Sandra Christian said.

City leaders said that the establishment of Walmart is just the start of Whitewright growing, but they will make sure Whitewright never loses the small town feeling.