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Walmart relocates and expands in Polson, reactions mixed

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:46:42 AM MST
Updated On: Oct 23 2013 09:12:18 PM MDT
POLSON, Mont. -

Walmart has relocated in Polson and expanded to a Supercenter. That means the location has a pharmacy, vision center and more groceries. The new location is at 36318 Memory Lane, and is approximately 120,000 square feet. That’s roughly the size of two football fields.

The new location has roughly 180 part-time and full-time workers, roughly 50 of whom are new with the expansion.

Manager Dan Dewitt says an expanded Walmart in Polson was a long time coming.

“The biggest thing is just to help the community. That way they don’t have to commute to Kalispell or Missoula to do all their shopping,” said manager Dan Dewitt.

NBC Montana spoke with people at several businesses in downtown Polson, and some said they were worried about competition from the big-box store.

Sandra Taylor, a salesperson at Nifty Thrifty, told NBC Montana her thoughts when she first heard about the expanded Walmart.

“I think I was like most people, that it would hurt the downtown business area,” said  Taylor.

At Walmart, Detwitt told NBC Montana that the store is a good asset to the community because it brings more jobs, and as a result, more money within the local community.

"It all balances out, I think," said Dewitt.

The store held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, and on October 26 there will be a celebration including face painting and food samples from noon to 3 p.m.

Folks interested in reading a study on Walmart’s impact on rural communities can read Iowa State University Professor Kenneth E. Stone’s study here.