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New Walmart Express planned for Columbus, KS - KOAM TV 7

New Walmart Express planned for Columbus, KS

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Walmart plans to build a new store in Southeast Kansas.  It's a new store format, and would be different from Walmart and Walmart Neighborhood Market.  

Columbus, Kansas may be just one of several places in our region for the new Walmart Express.

Blueprints make the plans official, after months of speculation.

"A broker company was broking some property for a particular client.  And that's probably been about two months ago," says Jim Burton, city supervisor for Columbus.

A new Walmart Express is planned for Columbus, population a little more than 3,000.  Columbus' city supervisor has only talked with the broker representing Walmart.

"They were building seven of these types of stores.  But he really didn't say where at," says Burton.

Burton says the broker told him those seven Walmart Express stores are planned for the Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri area.  In Columbus, the plans call for the 10,000 square foot building to have a gas station, pharmacy, and grocery store.  It would be built at the corner of North High School Avenue and Highway 160.

"That's one of the other major streets coming into town," says Burton.

The property has not been sold yet.  But workers with the company that owns this land, Cherokee County Ambulance and EMS, say a closing date is set for June 20th of this year.  The option being offered to Walmart is two and a half acres for $25,000, with proceeds of the sale going to help pay off a new Cherokee County ambulance.

"A lot of times, when businesses or manufacturers come in, they ask for a ten year tax exemption.  This was not asked during this process," says Burton.

Sales revenue would go towards the city and schools right away.  The new store is set to be completed by the later part of this summer.  

Walmart says they typically hire 30 workers at their new Walmart Express stores.

Columbus city officials also know this proposal draws positive and negative reactions from the community.  We spoke with customers at a local grocery store in Columbus.

"I think it's great.  I think the taxes it's going to bring to the county are great.  I'm not sure what to think yet about the grocery store situation (possibility of smaller grocery stores going out of business)," says Columbus resident Marjorie Davis.

"It's nice to come into a store and they know your name.  They know your family.  It's not something you can get at a bigger store," says Melissa McGuire, a former Walmart worker.
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