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First Wal-Mart Store in the City of Chicago Ready to Open.

Wal-Mart celebrates commitment to Chicago's Austin Neighborhood

Begins with approximately 400 new jobs, low prices and $117,500 to local charities

CHICAGO -- The first Wal-Mart store in the City of Chicago will open its doors at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27. The opening of this Wal-Mart discount store was in part a vision of the 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts, who was looking for employment opportunities and expanded retail options for her community located on the city's west side. To make her vision a reality, Mitts' solicited Wal-Mart's entrance into the City of Chicago.

"It's a great day for the residents of the West Side," said Ald. Mitts. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the 37th Ward Pastors Alliance and the many members of my community who worked along side me for the last three years to make this day happen. Many have selflessly dedicated their time and expertise from assisting me in winning zoning approval to helping to develop the partnership we have created with Wal-Mart. This partnership has created a true store of the communityC*a store that was built by the communityC*a store that has given residents of the community employment opportunitiesC*and a store that will provide new local shopping choices for the community."

In line with Wal-Mart's strategy to provide products relevant to the needs of its local customers surrounding each store, Chicago's Wal-Mart will feature a product mix specifically tailored to meet the needs of the Austin community. Emphasizing fashion and accessories for urban appeal, the store highlights two new designer clothing lines: "Metro 7," a hip brand for trendy women and "Exsto," a line of urban-themed attire for young men, which Chicago Bulls point guard Ben Gordon will model at the opening celebration. The store also offers a wide selection of home products that trend to a more urban style, as well as convenience services of a pharmacy, vision center, one-hour photo lab and Wal-Mart Connect Center for wireless phone sales. Additionally, customers can enjoy the added convenience of the locally owned and operated Uncle Remus restaurant located inside the store. Designed as a one-stop family shopping center, this new 142,000-square-foot store features a variety of departments including family apparel, health and beauty aids, household needs, electronics, toys, fabrics and crafts, lawn and garden supplies, jewelry and shoes.

The store will be open to customers from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week and features 16 full-service, four express and two self-service check-out lanes. The store is located at 4650 W. North Avenue in Chicago.

More than 15,000 Applications for Approximately 400 Jobs

Providing much needed jobs - approximately 400 upon opening - the store already has received more than 15,000 applications from members of the Austin community and beyond to work for the store.

"We're glad to bring these jobs to the city," said Ed Smith, manager of the Austin Wal-Mart. "The incredible number of applicants really demonstrates that Chicagoans want the competitive wages and benefits Wal-Mart provides." Smith continued by adding, "This store will show what a great community asset Wal-Mart can be, as an employer and an affordable resource for thousands of Chicago's working families."

"Wal-Mart's commitment to the Austin neighborhood is a great example of the job growth and turnaround we've experienced in Illinois recently," said Jerry Roper, President and CEO Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "We've been looking forward to welcoming Wal-Mart into the actual City of Chicago for some time now, and we're excited about all the benefits and opportunities this store brings to this specific community."

Providing Economic Growth and Opportunity

As the first Chicago store in Wal-Mart's portfolio, the store is also the first Jobs and Opportunities Zone store to open that intends to work with local leaders and businesses to bring economic investment into a specific urban area. The opening of this store creates the opportunity for additional business investment and development in the Austin neighborhood and the city as a whole, along with job opportunities and cost savings for all of Chicago's working families.

"Wal-Mart is a neighborhood retailer, and we are committed to being an integral part of the Austin community and to helping it grow and prosper," said Todd Libra, Regional General Manager for Wal-Mart. "Our customers and associates are members of the community, and we look forward to providing them and all of Chicago's working families with more convenience, more choice and more cost savings."

Leaders and Celebrities Join Opening Day, Sept. 27

Wal-Mart welcomes its neighbors in the community to help celebrate the store's Grand Opening at 7 a.m., Sept. 27. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Alderman Emma Mitts are invited to help cut the ribbon. Other activities planned as part of the grand opening celebration include a celebrity appearance and autograph signing by Chicago Bulls point guard Ben Gordon. Numerous product samples and other activities are also planned throughout the day and weekend.

$117,500 to Charities

As a part of its opening celebration, Wal-Mart believes in helping the organizations that work to better its store communities, and will provide $117,500 to various organizations in Austin and across the city. In all, 11 local charities will be among the first to receive grants from the store, which, as with all Wal-Mart stores, will support groups to help its neighborhood organizations with grants and volunteer activities throughout the year and for years to come. Among the largest of donations is $55,000 to Lorretto Hospital.

Organizations interested in learning more about funding can contact the store for details, or go to

Wal-Mart in Chicago

Across the state of Illinois, Wal-Mart Stores and SAM'S CLUB facilities gave a total of $8,403,050 in 2005 to local causes and organizations in the communities they serve. In addition to those direct donations, many charities and organizations received in-kind donations and additional funds in the amount of $2,519,675 that was raised through stores, CLUBS and distribution centers, which equals a grand total of $10,922,725 contributed funds as a result of Wal-Mart's presence in the state.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Every day, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, SAM'S CLUBs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities. To learn more, visit, or
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 26, 2006
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