Sam's Club Expanding

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A Sam's Club will be built in Meridian, at the site of the former Bonita Wal-Mart location, next to Interstate 20/59.

"We hope to begin construction the beginning of 2004 and that would put us on track to have a grand opening about a year from now," said Daphne Moore, regional director of community affairs for Wal-Mart.

Sam's Club is a members-only warehouse club for both business and personal use.

The current building will be torn down. The Sam's Club will be built from the ground up and create 120 jobs.

"All of our positions are paid above minimum wage. We do a local market analysis to determine what we need to draw the best people to serve our customers. About 70 percent of the positions are full time," said Moore.

"I'm just delighted that we're finally going to get a Sam's Club here," said city council president Barbara Henson. "As I said, it's icing on the cake for small businesses owners like myself who have to travel quite a ways to take advantage of the items at Sam's that we can't get anywhere else."

The nearest Sam's Clubs have been in Tuscaloosa, Hattiesburg and Jackson.