Wednesday’s opening of a new Walmart store brings dozens of new jobs to Gloversville and begins in earnest the effort to fill in the gap left in neighboring Johnstown, where a smaller Walmart store shut down the night before.
Officials gathered for a grand opening at the new store at 329 S. Kingsboro Ave., where Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said guests shared in some celebratory cake.
Others were there to shop — a line of about 20 people looking to buy ammunition extended out of the sporting goods department.
The new store is expected to yield between $600,000 and $800,000 a year in sales tax revenue while serving as a draw for developers interested in available, developable property nearby.
King said the Walmart puts a variety of merchandise, from groceries and clothing to auto parts and bicycles, all in one place. It also includes a Subway shop and a new branch of the Fulton County Federal Credit Union.
King likened the Walmart’s opening to that of the Target store in the town of Amsterdam. It opened alone and then gradually led to the development of several new retail outlets.
“I think the next five to 10 years is going to be huge, and we’re really just beginning to grow this economy,” King said.
Closing the old Walmart at 233 Fifth Ave. Ext. in Johnstown will open up new possibilities there and create some work for the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth as it tries to make those possibilities a reality, director Michael Reese said.
At the same time, the Gloversville Walmart opens up in a spot where “for sale” signs are popping up on neighboring property.
“Walmarts typically do attract other retail and service companies that want to locate near Walmart stores,” Reese said.
The nearby properties have water and sewer services available, making them prime spots for more businesses and jobs, he said.
The Center for Regional Growth is also marketing property at the Crossroads Business Park, also nearby, Reese said.
Walmart engaged the services of a real estate agent to market the old store building, and discussions are ongoing about re-using it, he said. “We do have to understand the town [of Johnstown] is losing out on some of their revenue, so we would love to see something happen in the town of Johnstown to offset some of the losses.”
Walmart reports on its website that the new Gloversville store is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and employs about 300 full- and part time workers, about 85 more than the Johnstown store did.