CIBOLO, Texas – When Walmart opens what it calls its “reinvention” store Wednesday in Cibolo, it will be the first big grocery store and latest in the small city’s economic boom.
The 186,000 square foot store located at 602 Cibolo Valley Drive is what the company calls a prototype offering different upgrades from other superstores.
“It’s the reinvention of Walmart,” said Robert Doyle, the store’s manager.
Walmart has long been a store where consumers can shop for the weekly groceries, buy a flat screen, get the tires changed and get a money order. This store offers the same but with a slightly different look and many more high-tech and electronics offerings.
From a smart hub that features wearable and home devices to the deli counter that has big digital screens, the store is more connected.
The opening comes about three years after it was first announced, a revelation that some residents protested. They feared the location directly across from an elementary school was less than ideal and would increase traffic and crime in the area.
Doyle said the company is confident residents will like what they see.
“We’re working with the community and schools, and we’re here to give a value,” Doyle said.
The company has hired approximately 300 people, many veterans, to work at the store.
The Walmart is the latest in the area which has seen explosive growth. More retail, medical services and industry has moved in as well as a lot more people.
Cibolo’s population has ballooned by 843 percent in the past decade.
“We’re becoming urban suburban right now,” said Mark Lutz, director of the Economic Development Corporation. “And because of being sandwiched between I-35 and I-10, we’re becoming very, very attractive.”
He expects the trend to continue with more hospitals, high-tech jobs and roadways coming in.
“I think you’ll see a lot of opportunities,” Lutz said.
The growth spurt does present some challenges for Lutz and other leaders, trying to balance bringing in the new while still preserving the old small town charm.