Camilla CAMILLA, Ga. -- In a complete about face from earlier statements, officials from the world's largest retailer have told Camilla officials that they not only will keep the town's Walmart store open temporarily, but that they intend to also build a mini-supercenter in the area.
Camilla City Manager Mike Larkin confirmed to The Herald that, in a meeting with Walmart officials, the Arkansas-based company decided to begin construction on a new store.
According to Larkin, Walmart officials say that they'll keep the current store open until the new store in Mitchell County is completed, then move the current employees over to the new store.
"The people here in Mitchell County have worked diligently ever since Walmart made the announcement to close the store to do all they could to get them to reconsider," Larkin said. "And, after doing additional market research, they have."
Larkin said that the new store will be larger than the current one, but smaller than traditional supercenters.
Camilla mayor Mary Jo Haywood said that as word spread through the city Tuesday, people were acting as though it were Christmas morning.
"I am pleased that Walmart decided to re-commit to Camilla. Kudos go to the Chamber of Commerce and to Economic Development and to everyone who worked hard to make this happen," Haywood said.
"Needless to say, this will have a tremendous economic impact on the total city. Any positive economic news tends to lift the city's entire spirit.
"The relationship between Camilla and Walmart has been good. I believe the relationship will only become stronger with the new store.
I trust that the people will honor the commitment by continuing to be loyal shoppers," she said.
In Albany, construction is nearly complete on a new full-sized Walmart Supercenter that is set to open in May.
The closing of the Walmart in Camilla was expected to happen after the East Albany Walmart center opened.
Apparently that isn't the case.
"They've looked at it again and I guess times have changed enough that they're willing to go a different direction and build something new here," Larkin said.