Walmart opening moved to March

While Bill Hossalla, superintendent of the project to build a Princeton Walmart store here, still plans to turn the new building over to Wal–Mart Corporation as early November this year, it looks now like the store may not open for business until next March.

Hossalla, with general contractor Shaw Lundquist, had said last month that Wal-Mart should be able to set up the store for an opening in December this year. Now, both Hossalla and Wal-Mart Corp. public affairs/government relations employee Lisa Nelson indicate the opening won’t happen until this coming spring.

“I still have to have it done in November,” Hossalla said last week at the project site. Then he added: “It will probably sit empty for a while,” and said he has now heard the opening could be as late as this coming April.

When he turns over the key to the new 120,807 sq. ft. Walmart at the southwest quadrant of the Highway 95-Highway 169 interchange this fall, Hossalla said it will be ready for Wal-Mart to install the fixtures and stock the inventory. He had said last month that the setup time for opening at a Walmart is 30 days

“All the curbing is done and in another two weeks the blacktop will be done,” and the landscaping has started, Hossalla said last week.

Nelson, reached by e-mail to find out what Wal-Mart’s plans are for an opening date,replied: “The schedule as of today shows an opening in late March. I will send details as we get closer to date.”

Nelson couldn’t be reached for elaboration.

Many in the area have speculated, especially after Hossalla’s comments in July, that Wal-Mart might try to capitalize on this year’s holiday business. But it could be that if the Walmart store opened in December it would not be early enough to capture the major portion of the holiday shopping which begins the day after Thanksgiving. That has been when many retailers run so called “door buster” specials.

No City of Princeton officials appeared to know about Walmart’s most current opening plans. Building inspector Lynn Paulson said he heard from Hossalla that the Walmart opening would likely not happen now until spring, but he hd yet to receive confirmation from Wal-Mart Corp. about the planned opening date.

The floor inside the building is still dirt. Paulson said that the contractors will not be pouring the cement for the floor until all the ceiling work and related ceiling painting is done. The ceiling will be open so that customers will see the structural framework and skylights, Paulson said.

Hossalla was asked if he has heard anything about what businesses may locate inside the Walmart store, and he said there will be a hair salon, besides the pharmacy, grocery and merchandise departments.