They won’t be open for Black Friday, but they will be open soon thereafter: The first two Wal-Mart stores in the District of Columbia will open to shoppers Wednesday, Dec. 4, the retailer said Tuesday.
The stores, located at 5929 Georgia Ave. NW and 99 H St. NW, will both open at 8 a.m., bringing to a close more than three years of public debate and political wrangling over the megaretailer’s entry into the nation’s capital — particularly over the wages it will pay its employees.
The two stores set to open next month are the first of as many as six stores Wal-Mart has said it wants to open in the city. When city lawmakers moved forward on a bill that would require it and some other large retailers to pay a $12.50 “living wage,” Wal-Mart balked and threatened to abandon its D.C. plans. The bill passed the D.C. Council, but was vetoed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who called the bill a “job killer,” and the council failed to override the veto.
The new stores will each employ about 300 workers. Wal-Mart opened two “hiring centers” near the stores in September, and said, as of Tuesday, it has received more than 23,000 applications for jobs there. It has not yet provided an accounting of how many of the applicants or new hires are District residents.
The stores, Wal-Mart said in a statement, will offer “a full grocery selection, fresh produce, bakery, delicatessen, organic food items, full-service pharmacy and $4 prescription program, as well as a broad assortment of general merchandise including apparel and electronics.”