Store will employ up to 300 people
By Shanderia K. Posey
Wednesday may go down as the best birthday present ever for Lee Maddox, the store manager of the new Walmart Supercenter in Byram, located at 131 Handley Blvd.
The store’s grand opening was held at 8 a.m. Wednesday and several hundred people attended the festivities.
It also happened to be Maddox’s birthday.
“It has truly been an humbling experience to be so welcomed by city officials and everyone in town,” said Maddox.
During the ceremony, the crowd also heard from Byram’s Mayor Richard White, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Sammy Sappington, Walmart regional manager. Also in attendance were Sen. David Blount, Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason, two new Hinds County Supervisors Bobby McGowan and Michael Morgan, Dr. Delesicia M. Martin, Hinds County School District superintendent; Byram’s Junior Auxiliary, Byram Business Association and all Byram aldermen.
Sappington noted that in his 39 years with the company, the turnout for the Byram’s store opening was the largest he’s seen in years.
Area schools were represented as well. The Byram Middle School Choir performed the National Anthem along with the school’s jazz band. BMS’ Junior ROTC presented the colors at the beginning of the ceremony. Terry High School cheerleaders performed along with the younger Titan cheerleaders. Girl Scouts Troop 5841 and a local Boy Scouts troop were presented grant checks from Walmart’s Community Giving Program for their community service work.
“During the legislative session I don’t do a lot of these events, but I wanted to be here because it’s such a great day in Byram,” Reeves said. The lieutenant governor shared that though he grew up in Florence, he had fond memories of the Walmart site because it’s near where the old Byram High School – a place where he played basketball as a child – used to be.
“Walmart will create tons of jobs. The big winners in this capital investment is you – the consumers,” he said.
The store’s identification number is 6469, and so far about 300 people are employed at the store. The 200,000 square-feet building contains a Subway restaurant, full pharmacy with a drive-thru, hair salon, vision center, auto center, and bank.
White said the store is going to generate a lot of sales tax, but he noted the city will have to adjust to Walmart’s presence.
“We’re going to all have to be patient for a few weeks, months, a year or two until we get these roads off,” White said. “This store is going to help us buy a lot of asphalt. I know it doesn’t mean anything to y’all but it means a lot to me.”
White also announced that a Dollar Tree store will be located near Walmart soon.
Now that Walmart is open in Byram, local residents are grateful for the chance to drive a shorter distance to shop.
“I’m very excited that Byram has a Walmart now,” said Linda Harris, a local resident. “We have so many people in the Byram area, and we usually have to drive to Clinton or Richland to get to a Walmart, so this is more convenient for the immediate community. It’s gonna help us grow.”
Though there will always be work to do in running a city, Byram Aldermen Teresa Mack agreed that she’s relieved for now that the store is open.
“I’m also grateful that they took the opportunity and chance to come to Byram because we’ve been waiting for a store this size to come to Byram to serve our community for a while,” Mack said.