EAGLE POINT — It might not be quite as momentous as day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, but today's opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Eagle Point is set to draw impressive crowds.

This story has been corrected -- see note below story
EAGLE POINT — It might not be quite as momentous as day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, but today's opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Eagle Point is set to draw impressive crowds.

"Customers have been coming to the store asking questions about the opening," said Wal-Mart spokesperson Amy Wyatt-Moore. "We're expecting at least a few hundred lined up and maybe up to a thousand." A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 7:30 a.m. with doors opening at 8 a.m.

Store co-manager David Huntsman promises to be ready.

"We'll be having lots of demos, sampling and vendors handing out products," he said. "Special promos will go through about 5 p.m. with some vendors participating throughout the weekend."

Wal-Mart took possession of the 184,718-square-foot store at 11500 Hannon Road in Eagle Point six weeks ago and workers have been stocking shelves ever since, said Huntsman.

The store will be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days per week, and will feature apparel and accessories, fine jewelry and health and beauty departments. A full-service grocery area includes bakery and deli foods, frozen foods, meat and dairy products, fresh produce, organic products and beer and wine. Other departments include electronics and home entertainment, a tire/lube shop, a pharmacy and cell phone sales. Attached leased areas include a SmartStyle Family Hair Salon and a Subway restaurant.

Employees, their families, local dignitaries and businesspeople from Eagle Point and Shady Cove were invited to a preview Monday night.

"They had everything — beautiful flowers, great-looking produce, a big garden center and a huge selection of chocolate candy, which is one of my priorities," said Shady Cove Mayor Ruth Keith. "They weren't totally stocked, but said they would be by the opening. And they did a great job on the exterior."

A waterwheel, timber beams, wood shingles and a warm, earth-tone color palette were used to help the huge store blend into the local environment. The building also features recycled fly ash floors that require less maintenance than tile flooring and can be cleaned with milder detergents, said Wyatt-Moore. To reduce the amount of energy used, skylights and dimmer lights were installed.

When fully staffed, the supercenter will employ about 425 people with an average wage of $11.25 for the store's full-timers, said Wyatt-Moore.

New jobs will be a boon to local economy, said Keith. "It's a pull for employment and that's a positive thing because in Shady Cove there's a limited number of businesses and therefore a limited number of jobs."

Increased traffic was the only concern Keith has heard about. "Getting around Eagle Point now might be a challenge," she said.

Wal-Mart worked with the city to improve the intersections at Highway 62 and Lynn and Hannon and at Highway 62 and Nick Young.

"We also increased Hannon Road to three lanes and added bike lanes in front of the store to help alleviate traffic," said Wyatt-Moore.

After guests browsed through the new building Monday night, Wal-Mart officials handed out $33,000 in community grants to Eagle Point nonprofits. The school district's D-9 Foundation got $13,000 for college scholarships and special needs programs. Remaining grants went to the City of Eagle Point for repairs and upgrades to a local park and the District 9 Senior Citizens Club for the construction of a meeting and exercise room.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story listed incorrect regular hours for the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Eagle Point. The story has been corrected to fix the error.


Jennifer Strange is a freelance writer living in Central Point. Reach her at jlstrange@hotmail.com.