Sam's Club Moving to Sandfly? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/24/05

Sam's Club Moving to Sandfly?

Company could be coming. Company could be coming.
Sparks may soon fly again in Sandfly. First residents fought over Wal-Mart and lost. Now, Sam's Club has its sights set right next door. There's a vacant property alongside the new Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Montgomery Cross Road, just off the Truman Parkway.

Wal-Mart officials were in town today to meet with the Metropolitan Planning Commission. We are told Sam's Club plans are very preliminary, but some are ready to start fighting soon.

Alethia Pilgrim works at the GNC health store in Sandfly Plaza. She remembers how business was last year when the Wal-Mart opened down the street. "Because of curiosity, people went to check things out, see their products," she said. "And our business decreased."

Pilgrim didn't like it then, and along with some others, she doesn't like the idea of Sam's Club moving in next door now.

"It seems redundant to put two businesses like that in a residential area," she said.

"I like the idea," said Christine Porter, who lives in Sandfly and is among the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club faithful. "I love the idea of it being right here."

The lunch hour traffic coming in and out of Wal-Mart didn't look so bad today, but the people who live and work there say it is bad and fear the worst if Sam's Club comes in.

"I had a woman I know who got in an accident right up at the Wal-Mart exit," said Porter. "But I still like the idea."

"I think it will make traffic difficult," said Pilgrim. "It's really too much traffic in too small an area."

Pilgrim has a feeling the Sandfly community won't let Sam's Club in without a fight. "I think they are as happy about Sam's Club as they are about Wal-Mart coming in."

Members of the group Save Our Sandfly were no fans of Wal-Mart.

We spoke with Wal-Mart spokesman Glenn Wilkins today, and he says this Sam's Club idea is just an idea right now. They are only expressing interest at this point in tearing down trees and building on the property next door to Wal-Mart.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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