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EAST MARLBOROUGH — It’s a traffic nightmare of epic proportions, but when it’s all said and done, the expansion of the Wal-Mart on Route 1 will be worth the struggle.
At least that’s what store manager Stan Morgan believes, when the project is finally completed next summer.
“It’s going to be great to expand our offerings and savings to the public,” he said.
The project, which started last winter, has mostly been outdoors up until now; starting Aug. 27, however, the work moves indoors to continue the expansion.
“We’ve already moved some counters inside to expedite the process, and to make the whole change easier for our customers,” Morgan said. “There’s really only one full department to move, and that’s toys.”
According to Morgan, the existing exterior lawn and garden center will be enclosed, creating 20,000 more square feet of store space.
When it’s all said and done, the new Wal-Mart will offer a full line of groceries, with a new meat and deli counter, bakery and full produce section.
The departments inside essentially slide to the left, with the McDonald’s located in the entrance the location of the new bakery.
Morgan said the expanded store will add a number of new career opportunities for the local community, with management and hourly employees
“We need up to 125 new employees,” Morgan said. “And we need 75 of those immediately to facilitate this new portion of the job to set up and move things. We need to have those employees staffed and processed by Aug. 20.”
He added that his hope is that 60 percent of those new hires would be stellar employees willing to stay on when the store is complete.
“They’ll also have a vested interest in the store, since there were there from the start,” he said.
Morgan said that, despite the changes, he is not technically allowed to refer to the revised store as a “Supercenter,” and that he still isn’t sure whether or not the new store will be open 24 hours a day – a requirement of the so-called “Supercenters.”
“It’s still up in the air,” he said of the decision to stay open around the clock.
East Marlborough township manager Jane Laslo said that, despite the stipulations that may have been imposed on the project when it first began, she was not aware of any township ordinance restricting hours of operation.
“I know that we do have restrictions on delivery times and trash pick up, but nothing that dictates when a store can be open,” she said, adding that a number of companies in the township have late night or overnight hours, including Wendy’s and Wawa.
She also said that, with changes to the entrance and other modifications, the expansion is closer to 30,000 than 20,000-square feet.
As the project continues, Morgan said that the project managers are all onsite on a regular basis to guide the process.
“They have full staff planning the baseline of how it’s going to operate, but it’s an extensive, ongoing project,” he said.
The Wal-Mart in East Marlborough has roughly 212 employees on a regular basis.