New Wal-Mart opens in Vineland

January 21, 2009 4:29:08 PM PST
A massive new Wal-Mart store opened Wednesday morning in Vineland, New Jersey, bringing has hundreds of jobs to the area.The doors couldn't have opened at a better time. The same day, New Jersey officials announced the state's highest unemployment in 15 years.

It's the Garden State's third super Wal-Mart.

But, not everyone is happy to see it start serving shoppers.

There was a protest from union workers who, for years, have been critical of what they call Wal-Mart's low wages and poor benefits.

That said, 5,000 applicants are vying for 700 jobs. One of those applicants is Consuelo Clark, who lost her grant-funded teaching job in June.

"It's a job, it pays the bills. I have food in my stomach and clothes on my back and I can take care of my family because of Wal-Mart," Clark said.

James Martinez was a car salesman. But, no sales meant no commission.

"I think it's great because I was able to get a job and lock it in. I feel good about where I'm at," Martinez said.

Cumberland County is one of the poorest counties in New Jersey, and Vineland has a 6.5% unemployment rate. Officials say this store means jobs and tax dollars.

"The taxes alone that are going to be brought to our city in Vineland, and lowering the tax base. This retail store is invaluable to the city," said Mayor Robert Romano of Vineland.

The Wal-Mart store also boasts environmentally friendly skylights that help cut electric usage during the day, and floors made from recycled tires. The company also donated $52,000 to local charities.

One man Action News spoke to is glad to see the store open.

"It's close to the house, and I don't have to go very far. And, I hear it's open 24 hours, so that's terrific," said Donnel Stafford of Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Wal-Mart's presence is upsetting to some small businesses and union shops. But, neither Vineland officials, employees nor shoppers seem concerned with that right now.

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