Brewton bags Supercenter
Published 5:32 am Monday, February 5, 2007
By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Helping to mark Brewton's territory as a retail center for the area, Wal-Mart on Thursday announced plans to build a Supercenter in the city, a store that will be more than twice the size of the current Wal-Mart.
The new store would add 125 jobs to the community, Wal-Mart officials said.
Wal-Mart's new store, scheduled to open in summer 2008, would be located at the old strawberry patch on U.S. Highway 31 North, north of the corner where a new Walgreens drug store is slated to be built.
The new store would be 184,257 square feet, larger than the 71,159 square foot store currently located on Douglas Avenue.
Eric Brewer, director of public relations for Wal-Mart, said adding groceries to the store's merchandise in Brewton is a “prime driver” for the decision to build a Supercenter.
Wal-Mart does not build Supercenters based on expected population growth, Brewer said, but where the market has already shown it can support a larger store.
Jennings said he expects other new businesses to build in Brewton now that Wal-Mart is expanding.
The new store will also necessitate infrastructure changes, the mayor said. The three-lane section of U.S. 31 will be extended, a turning lane will be added and Old Castleberry Road will likely be modified so that it connects to U.S. 31 at a 90-degree angle.
Construction on a Supercenter normally takes a year, Brewer said, and Wal-Mart hopes to break ground on the new property this summer.
Brewer said employees at the current store would have the opportunity to work in the Supercenter, but the new store and possible leased affiliates such as a hair salon, bank branch or fast food restaurant could create up to 125 jobs.
Wal-Mart reported collecting more than $517 million in sales taxes and paying more than $22 million in state and local taxes in Alabama in 2006.
Wal-Mart already has 79 Supercenters in Alabama, including a newly opened store in Andalusia. That city saw sales tax figures grow in the first month the new store was open.