North Texas Has 2 More Walmarts

By Randy McIlwain
|  Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010  |  Updated 6:45 PM CDT
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The retail giant opens five new stores statewide and adds 2,000 new jobs.

Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com

The retail giant opens five new stores statewide and adds 2,000 new jobs.

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If the economy is struggling, it's not affecting retail giant Walmart's expansion in Texas.

The company opened five locations in Texas on Wednesday, including one in Benbrook and another in Denton.

The Benbrook store brings about 450 jobs to the community, while the location in Denton has created more than 400 jobs.

"People couldn't wait for this to open," said Linda Ratliff, director of the Economic Development Council for the city of Denton.

Denton residents have been waiting for months for the grand opening and shopped like it was Black Friday.

"I am just giddy," RaeAnn Keck said. "I'm way more excited than I should have been about it opening up."

The store is anchoring the 400-acre Rayzor Ranch Development.

"We could see this pattern coming out here," store manager George Wilthers said. "Months ago, this was just an empty field. It was not providing any type of economic development."

Walmart's investment risk is minimal. Like most of North Texas, Denton is growing, with two universities. The retailer also has a broad choice of educated employment candidates out of workers who are displaced or laid off.

The Walmart and an adjacent Sam's Club that opened a couple of weeks ago have added nearly 800 jobs combined to Denton's economy.

"They're setting the trend," Ratliff said. "They're starting the economy to come back, because we know that retail has been down."

The Sam's Club reported the company's best grand opening sales figures in history when it opened three weeks ago. The early foot traffic at Walmart suggests sales there will also be strong.

The city hopes the two stores' success will help the entire development attract more businesses.

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