Wal Mart scraps Super Center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

AHOSKIE – Yes, maybe, no.

The aforementioned answers represent Wal Mart’s planning process to construct a Super Center in Ahoskie. Those plans are now off the drawing board.

On Tuesday, Wal-Mart updated their future construction plans, a strategy that does not include an Ahoskie Super Center.

“Based on an economic analysis and new demographic models, the economic productivity of an Ahoskie Super Center coupled with the cost of constructing and operating a store of this size is not cost effective in our area,” Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said.

Hammond said he was awaiting the official announcement from Wal Mart, but, as of late Wednesday afternoon, he had not received the notification. Hammond said he had been in contact with Leon Stabbs, a representative of Burns and McDonald Engineering, the firm handling the Ahoskie store. It was Stabbs who informed Hammond of Wal Mart’s decision not to proceed with the Ahoskie Super Center.

“We’re still not going to give up on this,” Hammond said. “We will continue to be in touch with the engineers and Wal Mart officials in an effort to change their minds about building a Super Center in Ahoskie.”

In October of 2006, Glen Wilkins, Senior Manager of Wal-Mart’s Public Affairs office in Atlanta, Ga., confirmed his company’s intentions to construct a 156,000 square-foot Super Center in Ahoskie in the empty field south of the current Wal Mart Discount Store. The original plans called for construction to begin in February of 2007, but that timetable was suspended after soil samples revealed contaminants.

A new site was chosen just a few hundred yards to the south in the field adjacent to Freeman Metal Products. There, crews surveyed the site, owned by Mary Johnson, and soil tests were performed.

While everything appeared ready to begin construction in February of this year at the second site, Wal-Mart’s new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) announced in November of 2007 of plans to cut back the number of new stores opening each year. The new Ahoskie store was a part of that process, pushing the project back until 2009 before those plans were scrapped on Tuesday.