Local Walmart Opens in Amherst

October 26, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2011 at 11:54 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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October 26, 2011 Updated Oct 26, 2011 at 11:54 PM EDT


Amherst (WKBW) A retail giant opened its doors Wednesday morning in Amherst as the new Walmart Supercenter held its grand opening. But as balloons covered the entrance, the opening of the new superstore is not a cause for celebration for some local residents.

Thousands of square feet of merchandise went on sale with the grand opening of the newest Walmart on Sheridan Drive in Amherst.

"We grand opened this morning at 7 o'clock, the store was full of customers, we had a big ceremony this morning for all of our associates, and we've been busy ever since. It's been a great turnout," Walmart Store Manager Peter Illenz said.

But the huge retailer isn't good news for some small businesses nearby.

Taraq Khan operates the Super Bazaar, a small store next door to Walmart.

"Since I've been here for twenty years, I'm a little bit concerned," he said.

But operating in the shadows of the huge new store, the fear of losing business isn't the only concern.

"It's a lot of cars. I find it very tough to get out of my store. So imagine how my customers feel," Khan said.

A new traffic signal was put up on Sheridan Drive to help ease congestion problems, but some residents are still upset.

"Right now it looks unbearable, and everybody in the area did fight it, but we lost," local resident Phillip Imerese said.

"I don't think they thought that much about it when they planned on putting it here as far as the traffic goes," resident Joanne Meggenhofen added.

As the automatic doors continue to open for more and more customers, those opposing Walmart recognized the only course of action they have left.

"There is nothing we can do about it. They're here. They're here to stay. I guess we're here to bear with them," Imerese said.