CALAIS, Maine — Wal-Mart will mark the expansion of its local store with a grand opening on Wednesday. The expanded store, which has been operating for some time and serves consumers in the region as well as Canada, has added about 80 new jobs.
It’s not the only good business news for Calais, the largest city in Washington County, although it is the most significant.
Another company is preparing to open a new store in the city, and a third business has won approval for its plan to open a location in Calais.
Tractor Supply Co. will open a store later this month, and plans are underway to bring a Tim Hortons restaurant to Calais.
The Walmart expansion added about 20,000 square feet, bringing the store’s total area to 124,000 square feet. The 80 additional jobs mean the South Street store will employ nearly 200 people in full-time and part-time positions, according to the company.
“I commend Walmart for its growth and investment in the Calais community,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a news release issued by the retailer last week. He also praised the company for donating food for the needy.
The expanded store will further Walmart’s pledge to fight hunger in America, the company said in its news release. Walmart stores in Maine donated about 4 million pounds of food — the equivalent of 3.3 million meals — in fiscal year 2013. Additionally, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $7.8 million in fiscal year 2013 in Maine alone.
The grand opening event includes plans to present $2,500 in grants from Walmart to community groups.
“We are thrilled to be growing our presence in the Calais community,” store manager Jordan Codrey said in the company’s announcement.
In addition to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening planned Wednesday, Walmart will host family activities at the store from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, including activities such as face painting, decorating cupcakes and free food samples.
Tennessee-based Tractor Supply will open a new store on the same street as Walmart and just a short distance away. The 19,000-square-foot store, located on 3.8 acres, is tentatively scheduled to open Oct. 19. It will employ 12 to 17 full-time and part-time employees, according to company officials.
Tractor Supply has 11 other stores in Maine, according to its website, but the Calais store will be its first in Washington County. The company’s closest other stores are in Ellsworth, Houlton, Millinocket and Bangor.
Tractor Supply says it is the largest retail farm and ranch store chain in the U.S. with annual revenues of about $4.7 billion and 1,223 retail stores in 46 states. The company also offers online sales.
Originally founded as a mail order catalog business in Chicago offering tractor parts to family farmers in 1938, the company’s retail stores offer products for homeowners and hobby farmers and ranchers, including supplies and equipment for agriculture, livestock, animal feed, power tools, and lawn and garden products.
The Calais Planning Board also approved a site plan Sept. 24 for a Tim Hortons to be located on just under 1 acre at the corner of North and Garfield streets. A building of about 2,300 square feet will be constructed on the site, according to assistant city manager Jim Porter. The only thing that remains is a permit from the state Department of Transportation, he said.
The owner of the Tim Hortons site is listed as R&R Enterprises. Further details, including the number of anticipated employees, were not immediately available.
The Tim Hortons chain was founded in Ontario in 1964. It specializes in coffee, baked goods and homestyle lunches.