EVERGREEN PARK, Ill., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Fulfilling the growing needs of employment in Chicago-area communities, the new Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) in Evergreen Park will open its doors earlier than originally planned at 7 a.m. this Friday, Jan. 27. The store will hold its Grand Opening celebration at that time, with community leaders sharing what the new store brings to the community, including the 325 new jobs, every day low prices, and an initial $35,000 donated to local charities upon its opening. Designed as a convenient one-stop family shopping center, the new 141,000- square-foot Wal-Mart store features 36 departments including family apparel, health and beauty aids, household needs, electronics, toys, fabrics and crafts, lawn and garden supplies, jewelry and shoes. In addition, the store offers a Tire & Lube Express, a pharmacy, a vision center, a Subway restaurant, a one-hour photo lab, and a Wal-Mart Connect Center for wireless phone sales. It will be open to customers from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week and will include 18 full-service, four express and four self-service check-out lanes. It is located at 2500 W. 95th St., adjacent to the Evergreen Park Sam's Club. Store Receives 25,000 Applications, Still Climbing Store manager Robert Shultheis says more than 25,000 applications already have been received from local citizens seeking a job at the new store ... and inquiries still continue. The store will bring more than 300 new jobs to the market, which is on average for a new Wal-Mart store. The company says this could be the highest number of applications ever received for just one store in its history. "We knew the number of applicants would be high, but this incredible outcome tells another story," said Chad Donath, area Wal-Mart district manager. "We know this community welcomes not just the Wal-Mart shopping experience, but the good jobs, benefits and great career opportunities at Wal- Mart they have heard about." "We have seen a turnaround in job growth in Illinois over the past decade and this store is a great example of that. I'm delighted to welcome Wal-Mart into the community and we look forward to the City of Chicago's first Wal-Mart opening this summer," said Jerry Roper, President and CEO Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Wal-Mart Economic Impact in Illinois As of December, Wal-Mart employed 46,467 associates. Including the newest Wal-Mart store in Evergreen, the company currently owns and operates the following facilities in the state of Illinois: * Supercenters: 51 * Discount Stores: 79 * Neighborhood Markets: 0 * SAM'S CLUBS: 28 * Distribution Centers: 3 In 2004, Wal-Mart collected on behalf of the state of Illinois sales taxes at rates ranging from 6.25% to 8.75%. Wal-Mart paid more than $61.2 million in state and local taxes in the state of Illinois in 2004. The average wage for full time hourly associates at Wal-Mart in the Chicago area is $10.99 an hour. Grand Opening Celebration, Jan. 27 The store welcomes the community to attend its Grand Opening celebration at 7 a.m., Jan. 27. Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton will assist in cutting the ribbon. Wal-Mart associate Yolanda Davis will perform the national anthem. Other activities planned during the grand opening event include numerous product samples, character appearances and give-aways. $35,000 in Grants to Charities The Evergreen Park Public Library Foundation will be receiving a $12,000 grant from the store, as a part of the total $35,000 the store will provide to local charities through Wal-Mart's Good Works giving program. Like all Wal- Mart stores, the Evergreen Park Wal-Mart will provide grant dollars throughout the year to help its neighborhood organizations. Groups receiving donations upon the store's $35,000 in gifts of support include: * Advocate Christ Medical Center * Advocate Hope Children's Hospital * American Legion Post #854 * Beverly Area Planning Association * Central Junior High School * Chicago Area Council Boy Scouts * Evergreen Park Community High School * Evergreen Park Police Department * Evergreen Park Public Library Foundation * Village Pantry Coalition * Girl Scouts of South Cook County * Grace Community Christian Reformed Church-Food Pantry * Johnson-Phelps VFW * Little Company of Mary Hospital * Northeast Elementary School * Oak Lawn Community High School * Southwest Elementary School * United Way * Village of Evergreen Park Fire Department * Village of Evergreen Park Parks Department Organizations interested in learning more about funding can contact the store for details, or go to http://www.walmartfoundation.org . Across the state of Illinois, Wal-Mart Stores and SAM'S CLUB facilities gave a total of $5,984,240 in 2004 to local causes and organizations in the communities they serve. In addition, many charities and organizations received in-kind donations and additional funds raised through stores, CLUBS and distribution centers in the amount of $2,899,240, for a grand total of $8,883,480 contributed through Wal-Mart's presence across the state. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company's securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartfacts.com . Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com .
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.