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Walmart opens Wednesday in center of county

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By Pat Faherty

After months of construction, the new Walmart at County Roads 486 and 491 in Lecanto is scheduled to open Wednesday morning.

Store manager Tom Cooper announced the grand opening ceremony would begin at 7:30 a.m. and the doors would open to shoppers at 8 a.m. The store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cooper was previously store manager at the Brooksville Walmart and has been with the company for 12 years.

He described the new Walmart, the third in Citrus County, as a medium-size store, not a Super Walmart like the store in Inverness.

“It is right in line with other Walmarts,” he said. It will be a little over 116,000 square feet and compares more to the store in Homosassa. That store opened last April, replacing an older location.

The Walmart has a drive-through pharmacy, grocery department and a Subway restaurant. Cooper had expected to hire about 200 new employees.

It anchors a shopping center called Central Ridge Plaza on about 40 acres. Gulf to Lakes Associates Inc. sold the site to the big-box retailer and is co-developer with Walmart for the infrastructure. Early plans called for a Walmart store and at least seven smaller stores. 

In November, the first step was taken for the possible building of a large, unnamed retail store on C.R. 486, across the road and northwest of the new Walmart. Citrus County Planning and Development Commission approved a request for a comprehensive plan amendment to allow the project.

Contact Chronicle reporter Pat Faherty at 352-564-2924 or pfaherty@chronicleonline.com.