Walmart opening Wednesday in Monroe

MONROE — Walmart plans to open a new store in Monroe on Wednesday, the eighth location in Snohomish County.

The approximately 156,000-square-foot shopping center at 19191 N. Kelsey St. will sell groceries and merchandise, and have a full-service pharmacy. The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.*

The new store employs about 200 full- and part-time workers.

Store manager Don Albaugh began his Wal-Mart career in 1995 as an hourly garden center associate.

“We are excited to open our doors just in time for the holidays,” said Albaugh in a news release.

Monroe and the surrounding community will look forward to more shopping options as well as having another 200 people with jobs, said Una Wirkebau-Hartt, executive director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re super excited to have an opportunity to have another employer in town,” she said.

Wal-Mart already has begun helping nonprofit organizations with donations of time and money for the Monroe Arts Council and upgrades of Wagner Auditorium.

Wal-Mart plans to announce $7,500 in grants at the grand opening Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at the store. Grant recipients of grants include the Gold Bar Elementary PTA, Maltby Food Bank, Monroe Public Schools Foundation, Monroe-Sky Valley YMCA, Sky Valley Food Bank and the Monroe Arts Council.

The retail giant is controversial in part due to its anti-union stance. On Friday, labor supporters demonstrated at Walmarts around the country, including 64 stores in Washington. The protests were supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Another concern is that Wal-Mart siphons business from small retailers.

Wirkebau-Hartt said that’s a worry particularly in a smaller town. But she said Monroe’s businesses have a loyal customer base. Smaller shops have some advantages over larger retailers, including more knowledge of products and more diversity of items in a store’s specialty, she said.

“There are things that Ben Franklin (Crafts &Frames) has that you won’t be able to find at Walmart,” she said.

Wal-Mart opened its last store in the county in September in Everett across from the Everett Mall. The chain opened a Marysville Walmart last year.

The Facebook page for the Monroe store is: www.facebook.com/walmart5628.

Correction, Dec. 3, 2014: The Monroe Walmart does not have a gas station. Incorrect information provided by the store was included in an earlier version of this story.

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