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New Super Walmart brings jobs to Habersham
County has a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, above Hall
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For a small county in a struggling economy, 140 new jobs is big news.

Thanks to a Super Walmart opening at 250 Furniture Drive, those jobs are coming to Habersham County.

And local officials are excited, even if 110 of those positions are part time.

"Any new jobs that we have here are just a tremendous boost to the area, and ... 30 full-time jobs is major," said Judy Taylor, president of the Habersham Chamber of Commerce. "... And also the part-time jobs are major because we have two colleges here and we have a lot of senior citizens, and they look for part-time work."

Preliminary April numbers show the county has a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, slightly below the 9.9 statewide unemployment rate but well above Hall County's 8 percent. That translates to 1,847 people out of work in Habersham.

The new store has been in the works for two to three years and will replace the Walmart at 308 Habersham Hills Circle, Taylor said.

It will be 150,000 square feet, compared to 97,550 at the old location, which opened in 1990, Walmart spokesman Glen Wilkins said.

The super center will offer a deli section, fresh produce and probably a larger selection of dairy and frozen foods, Wilkins said. It also will have a money center, optical center and pharmacy.

Those additional products likely translate to more tax money for the county, especially in an area with few big-box retailers.

"Every county around us has a Super Walmart already," Taylor said. "And a lot of our people have been driving to these Super Walmarts ... so we have been losing some of our tax money to other counties."

Wilkins said the center is something customers were asking for.

"The store had been around for a while and we just kept hearing from our customers that they wanted the opportunity to shop at a Super Walmart," Wilkins said, "... or at least to have the option of fresh foods, grocery, what other folks — what they have the opportunity to shop for for example in Gainesville or Oakwood."

The super center opens at 7:30 a.m. June 29. Click here if interested in jobs.


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