New Walmart Brings Hope Of Economic Development

WOWT 6 News continues to track some much needed economic improvement in one metro neighborhood.

A new Walmart store at Saddle Creek Road just north of Dodge is nearing completion and other businesses are already starting to pop up nearby.

Latisha Myers is excited over her new job.

She lives near the new Walmart opening up on August 20th.

"I applied and they welcomed me with open arms, It was very cool," she said.

Latisha is among nearly 80 other employees that were hired from the neighborhood by General Manager Andy Eckstrom.

"Going through the interview process that was what they said, 'hey I can walk to work,'" he said. "'That's what I wanted. I don't have to ride the bus anymore. I don't have to try to get a ride. It's local and I can walk right in.'"

For years North Saddle Creek Road was sprinkled with eyesores.

Some businesses were successful but the area lacked a solid anchor to draw additional business.

Eckstrom sees that changing.

"I think when Walmart comes in you see that growth potential," he said. "Other people want to come in because the traffic comes through there and we'll see other people follow suit."

Just north of the Walmart, there's a new Schlotzsky's Deli.

The shop re-located from South 72nd Street and opened last week.

Besides a steady stream of traffic, Manager Ben Fisher sees the Walmart helping his business.

"We'll get business from their employees as well as the customers come in either before they go grocery shopping or afterwards right here I mean it's quick and easy," he said.

Fisher sees this as the beginning of a changing landscape along Saddle Creek Road.

"If you look from Dodge coming north its starting to look good to here and even further along," he said.

Latisha Myers said now there's finally a positive vibe going through the neighborhood.

"My neighbors were excited and they told me that they'd be coming down there all the time," she said.

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