Wal-Mart Opens in Wakulla County

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Wal-Mart made this more than just a grand opening. It was a community event. The question is how does Crawfordville feel now that the face of downtown is changed forever? And will there be enough employees to work the store?

The store that defined one stop shopping is now open for business. Everything from groceries to clothing, paints and prescriptions, all located inside this big box.

It's enough to make a resident feel, "Very excited, ‘cause we don't have to drive up to Tallahassee anymore," said Bernice Chapman, a Wakulla County resident.

But not everyone's jumping on the Wal-Mart band wagon. Winn-Dixie managers say although the competition is good, they will continue to cater to their loyal customers, and some just don't like the look of the future.

Micki Cholmondeley, a Wakulla County resident, said, "I don't like the traffic it's going to bring and I don't like that the city's gonna look like every other city, big city in America with all the fast food places and all the stores, but I do like not driving into Tallahassee."

Meanwhile, some of these new employees are making the drive from Tallahassee to Crawfordville for jobs. Wakulla County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Florida, and finding employees is going to be a full-time job.

Wayne Newell, Wakulla Wal-Mart manager, said, "Right now we've got about 340 associates that's with our family, and looking to hire and bring more on."

The manager says he's recruiting help from Tallahassee and Gadsden County to keep the store running smoothly. Wakulla County's unemployment rate stands at an extremely low 2.3 percent.

Recruiting those new employees may be difficult. A former county commissioner is actually held responsible for bringing Wal-Mart to town. That would be former commission chair Mike Stewart. The road to Wal-Mart is now named after him.