Wal-Mart's massive new super center, perched atop a hill in Mahoning Township that is so high it's not even visible from the passing highway, will officially open on Oct. 13.
Girvin Janicki, store manager, said the existing store will close at 7 p.m. on the previous night.
Store personnel are already stocking shelves in the new store, which is located off Route 443 about a half-mile west of the existing Wal-Mart. New street lights are in place at the entrance to the store, although not yet operational. From the store's entrance to the front door is a half mile, Janicki said.
The new Wal-Mart is nearly two football fields in length wall-to-wall. Virtually every department in the store has been expanded from the present Mahoning store. There will be a drive-through pharmacy.
Like the existing Wal-Mart, the new store is a single-story structure. The new store will have a full grocery section with produce, its own bakery, a deli, meat section and seafood.
It will be open 24 hours.
The store has 204,000 square feet of shopping space, compared to 98,000 square feet that the existing store has, said Janicki. In comparison, the Wal-Mart in Hometown has about 150,000 square feet.
Janicki said there are 1,000 parking spaces.
Wal-Mart has also purchased 1,000 new shopping carts for the store. Janicki said the condition of the carts at the current location is one of the main complaints of patrons.
What is especially impressive at the new store is the scene from the parking lot.
"The view is unbelievable," Janicki said.
That view includes a panoramic scene of a large section of the Mahoning Valley.
The store official said there are three tenant partners in the new Wal-Mart. They are Subway, Smart Style Hair Salon and Woodforest Bank, a full-service financial institution based in The Woodlands, Texas.
One of the most unique features will be the restroom. Although there are general restrooms in the front of the store, the rear of the store has in addition to regular restrooms a family restroom with a special commode for the small fry and a changing facility for infants.
The new Wal-Mart has produced employment for an additional 150 people: 80 full-time workers and 70 part-time workers. Janicki said in addition, all 220 employees at the current Wal-Mart are transferring to the new store.
Besides 26 cash registers in the front of the store, some departments such as pharmacy, phone center, electronics, and garden center will have their own checkouts.
At the grand opening, the Lehighton Area High School Choir will sing the national anthem.