Anne Arundel County's first Wal-Mart should open in four to six weeks in Glen Burnie, a spokeswoman for the nation's largest retailer said yesterday.
A Silver Spring contractor has finished building the 114,513-square-foot store at the former site of an Ames on Crain Highway in the East Park Shopping Center. Managers have hired 245 employees for the store, and workers have begun stocking the shelves, said Kristin Stehben, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Wal-Mart initially expected the store to open late this year, but "we ran a little ahead," Ms. Stehben said.
The store will offer the standard 36 departments found in most of the nation's 1,735 Wal-Mart stores, plus a garden center, pharmacy and snack bar.
Wal-Mart will join Giant Food, Fashion Bug and several smaller stores in the East Park Shopping Center, owned by Silver Spring-based East Park Center Limited Partnership. The Ames closed in 1990, after its parent company filed for protection from creditors under federal bankruptcy laws.
Wal-Mart has shot ahead of Sears, Roebuck & Co., Kmart Corp. and Ames Department Stores Inc. in sales and profits by stressing low overhead, customer service and rock-bottom prices on groceries, health and beauty aids, housewares, apparel, sporting goods, toys and electronics.
The discount chain from Bentonville, Ark., started in under-served areas of the rural South and Midwest 30 years ago and has increasingly edged toward fiercely competitive metropolitan areas.
The chain launched a Maryland expansion last year, with stores in Prince Frederick, Easton, Hagerstown and Waldorf. A store is under construction in Elkton. Another being built in Westminster should open late this year, Ms. Stehben said.
Stehben remained mum on plans for a second Anne Arundel County Wal-Mart, in West County.
Earlier this year, Wal-Mart began negotiating with Russett Center Limited Partnership, owner of the 613-acre Russett community, to buy a commercial parcel at Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 198.
Wal-Mart is under contract to purchase 50 acres and develop the entire parcel, said Marshall Zinn, vice president of Curtis F. Peterson Inc., which manages Russett. The retailer is preparing to submit preliminary plans to the county by the end of the month and close on the property by August or September, Mr. Zinn said.
Early plans showed a 400,000-square-foot retail center with a Wal-Mart, a home improvement store and a Sam's Club, Wal-Mart's members-only discount house, Mr. Zinn said.