D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Just months after breaking ground, two new Walmarts have officially opened on the coast. Ribbon cuttings were held at both the D'Iberville and Biloxi locations Wednesday morning. The stores are the first of its kind in South Mississippi.
The grand opening brought new life to a once forgotten lot in downtown D'Iberville.
Store Manager Jim Hasty said he felt that the community needed this addition of grocery retail.
"I've lived in this area since 1998," said Hasty.
He remembered the old building that was on this lot, and the role it played just nine years ago.
"During Katrina, this was a destination for a lot of the community to come and receive. Volunteers were here and they received clothes and medicine and water and all their supplies," said Hasty.
A majority of Hasty's employees are D'Iberville natives or current residents. One even has history with the old grocery store that used to stand on this lot.
"One of my assistant managers got his start in retail at this location with the mayor many years ago," said Hasty.
The old building was knocked down to make way for the new grocery-focused Neighborhood Market. Mayor Rusty Quave, who once worked in that old store, called the new construction a milestone for the city.
"This is the first actual commercial building that has been built since Katrina," said Quave.
It's Quave's hope that this development won't be the last.
"What we're going to try to do is build a community where people can come in and have a better quality of life," he said.
The other Walmart Neighborhood Market opened up on Pass Road in Biloxi on Wednesday morning.