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On The Edges--Nixa

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by Diane Rarick

Mike Murphy, a Republic native, has been named manager of Nixa's Wal-Mart Supercenter, currently under construction on State Highway 160. The 1985 Republic High School graduate comes back to southwest Missouri after managing a Wal-Mart in Frederick, Md., for three years. His Wal-Mart career spans 14 years.

"We originally planned to open in March, but because construction is ahead of schedule, we have moved the opening date to around the end of January or first of February," Murphy said. The parking lot is now being completed.

A Wal-Mart hiring center has been established south of the new site, at a former car dealership next to the Super 8 Motel on State Highway 160. Murphy will hire about 300 people, mostly from Nixa and the surrounding area.

A total of 30 existing Wal-Mart employees will transfer to Nixa from other locations around Springfield, Murphy said.

"Over 100 current employees asked for a transfer to Nixa. A lot of associates who live in Nixa, Clever, Ozark and Highlandville have been working in supercenters in Springfield. ... We held taking transfers to a minimum, because we can't hurt stores they currently work in," Murphy said.

The Nixa supercenter is a medium-size store, the size that is normally used in smaller towns, Murphy said. "This size store has been very successful. It gives customers what they want without being overwhelming."

Murphy said adding a Wal-Mart Supercenter "will keep a lot of business in Nixa. It will benefit anybody else who's already running a successful business in Nixa. In Frederick, Md., any business located within two to three miles of my store had an increase in business due to increased traffic and being more visible," Murphy said.

Because supercenters offer groceries, the Nixa store will compete head-to-head with Smitty's by Albertson's and Price Cutter of Nixa. "We're going to do the best we can to offer the best price and service," Murphy said.

In the past year, Wal-Mart has implemented an online system for posting manager job openings, according to Murphy. "I heard that (a record) 52 managers put in for the (job managing the Nixa) store. The Lord was smiling on me that day, because I didn't think I had a chance," he said.

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