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Super store opens

June 14, 2000|By JOSH POLTILOVE

Hundreds of shoppers clustered near the Wal-Mart Supercenter's front door Wednesday morning, patiently waiting for the store to open.

When it did, many made their way inside the 5-acre Hagerstown store. Some people left when they learned the grand-opening ceremony at the store on Garland Groh Boulevard would last an hour and they would not be able to shop until it was over.

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The ceremony went better than expected, said Lisa Coleman, Hagerstown's Wal-Mart community involvement coordinator.

"I'm excited there were so many people," she said. "I wasn't sure what to expect."

Wal-Mart District Manager Tim Middleton spoke at the ceremony and the Gospel Four Quartet performed.

The store presented $1,000 checks to the Salvation Army, Four States Christian Mission and Cedar Ridge Children's Home, and made an additional $2,000 in contributions to other charities.

Throughout the day, Jeff Gordon's race car was at the site, as were the Energizer Bunny, Pillsbury Dough Boy and Keebler Elf.

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Once the store opened for business, customers like Sheree Fristoe, 40, of Hagerstown pushed carts down the aisles and searched for products.

"It's a very good addition to Hagerstown. I think it's great," said Fristoe, who was in the store to buy beach towels and other summer products.

Del. Robert McKee, R-Washington, agreed the store is a positive addition to the community.

"It provides good competition, which is beneficial to the consumers," he said. "For those who want to do one-stop shopping, they can come in here and do that."

Store Manager Robert DeMartino was pleased at the size of the opening day crowd and said he was sure the public would continue to support Wal-Mart.

The store has 580 associates, up from the 325 associates that where at the Wesel Boulevard Wal-Mart, which has closed.

DeMartino said a second Supercenter, proposed to be built near Funkstown, would be a good addition.

"There's a definite need for it because the community is so spread out," he said.

Middleton said people in Hagerstown should be excited about the new store, which has, among other things, a Tire and Lube Express, vision center, portrait studio and a bank.

"The end result is one of the most spectacular Supercenters I've ever seen," Middleton said.

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