New Wal-Mart hiring; welcomed in Atlanta’s Vine City community

Hundreds of people stood in line for hours Monday to apply for jobs at a Wal-Mart that will be opening in January in northwest Atlanta’s Vine City neighborhood.

And business leaders told Channel 2 Action News they hope the addition of the new retail center on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive will kick off a wave of economic growth in a part of the city that needs a rebound.

Wal-Mart plans to hire about 150 people and began interviewing job-seekers Monday at a hiring center near the new Vine city location. Interviews will be held until the full- and part-time positions are filled. Benefits include health care options, discounts on groceries and a 401(k) match.

Makia Johnson told Channel 2 she stood in line for four hours Monday. “Hopefully I can get a job with Wal-Mart to work in customer service, cashier, or stocking” she said. “I’m looking for a second job hopefully at night.”

At 75,000 square feet, the new store will be a smaller version of the retail giant’s suburban superstores. It will specialize in groceries and household supplies — items the neighborhood wants and needs, manager Quincy Springs told Channel 2.

“If you build it they will come and I really believe that’s the case with Wal-Mart,” Springs said.

“When the previous grocer left, there was a huge shadow that cast over this neighborhood and suspicion over why are they leaving.”

Atlanta councilman Ivory Young told Channel 2 he expects this Wal-Mart to hire mostly local workers and become a magnet for northwest Atlanta’s job recovery.

“The Wal-Mart here helps the families, the business on this corridor and it helps to restore to confidence in financial markets that would consider investing in this corridor,” he said.

The hiring center, at 825 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Suite B in Atlanta, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applicants can apply in person at kiosks or online at walmart.com. Their applications will be screened before in-person interviews are granted at the center.

Wal-Mart also broke ground Monday on a Cascade Road store in Atlanta that will employ 300 people and open in mid-2013.

The Wal-Mart store’s design will adhere to requirements of a local overlay district, including a requirement for trees and a restriction on outdoor signs.

The company is seeking to build more intown stores in Atlanta. Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz said the company “would like to have as many as we can” inside the Perimeter, but that it was too soon to give specifics about where other stores would be.

Earlier this month, a vote to change land use rules in Buckhead to allow a Wal-Mart to build fell short by one vote in Atlanta’s city council.

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