Hundreds gather for downtown Walmart opening

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Jul 09 2014 06:30:00 PM HST

The downtown Honolulu Walmart celebrated it's grand opening today and is expected to bring changes to the district.

HONOLULU -

The Walmart in downtown Honolulu has opened for business.

The store celebrated its grand opening Wednesday and is expected to bring changes to the district.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's report.

As hundreds gathered outside the store, employees inside rushed to make sure it was spotless. Some downtown workers said it’s a shopping option they’ve wanted.

“I always come every morning and go to the competition around the corner, but Walmart has always had the cheap prices for my affordability. It’s awesome, and I’ve been waiting for the past couple years for it to open.”

Before the grand opening, Walmart’s store manager handed out $30,000 worth of grants to local community groups. The Institute for Human Services received the largest sum at $25,000.

The funds will help there Hele 2 Work employment program.

“It really helps us get people starting out doing the training, provide the training and give incentives for people as they do the training. Incentive to put that in high gear for us.”

The facility has two floors, according to store manager Ray Griego.

“(The) lower level, obviously it’s (a) consumers department, expanded foods, produce, large selection of bakeries. Upstairs apparel, electronics, toys, hardware, automotive and sporting goods,” he said.

Store managers said the 470 parking stalls should be enough. The parking is free with $25 worth of purchases.

Instead of traffic problems, business leaders said they expect the new store to help the local economy.

“With Walmart coming in starting today, it brings a whole sense of energy, as well as upgrade to facilities out here for our downtown customers,” said Victor Lim of the Street Mall Business Improvement District.

The store is open until 10 p.m. Wednesday. Its daily hours are 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

PHOTOS: Grand opening of Downtown Walmart

Click here to view photos from the grand opening on your mobile device.

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