08/21/06 — New store increases business

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New store increases business

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 21, 2006 1:53 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The start of construction of a Wal-Mart superstore in Mount Olive has already boosted the Mount Olive economy and is generating interest in commercial property adjacent to the site on N.C. 55, town officials say.

Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown said about 100 people are working on the site and that restaurants and motels are seeing increased business. He said developers are putting together plans for parcels of land near the store, which is expected to open sometime next spring.

At least one company, Murphy Oil Co., has already decided to build on an adjacent parcel of land, he said. The oil company often builds near Wal-Mart stores, he said. Brown said he expects the construction of the Wal-Mart to generate wide interest in development of nearby commercial property and in other parts of Mount Olive. He said he has already seen indications of increased interest in development in the area, including the Breazeale Avenue section of town.

Brown and other town officials met with Wal-Mart representatives and building contractors last week on the site for the first pre-construction meeting held by the general contractor, Helms Builders.

Site preparation work has already started although Wal-Mart has not officially made an announcement. Brown said store officials have cautioned against setting a specific target date for completion of the store. But he said he believes it will be "substantially" complete in March.

Brown said he has already been impressed by the way workers have started. Store officials and contractors have said they will maintain a neat site while the building is being built, he said.

Helms has built a number of Wal-Mart stores.

"They are a regular with Wal-Mart. I met a man the other day who said he has been working on Wal-Mart projects for 25 years," Brown said.

"They said they will look out for the environment. They said if one of the trucks on N.C. 55 had mud on the tires, they'd clean it up, and I saw two guys out there with a shovel. It's obvious they respect where they're working."

Brown said town officials will visit Fuquay-Varina next month to see how the construction of Wal-Mart there has had an effect on the town.

"They've absorbed a Super Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. It's a bustling place. We'll talk to these folks about how they managed to pull that off."

He said the super store is already bringing a lot of money into the town's economy. He estimated that at least 100 people are working on the site now and eating in the restaurants and filling up hotel rooms.