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Walmart opening in Downtown Honolulu draws huge crowds

Thousands of people jammed the new Downtown Honolulu Walmart on Wednesday, the first day of business for Hawaii's 10th Walmart store, to buy everything from art supplies, to slippers to DVDs.

The 80,000-square-foot store on the block bounded by King and Bethel streets and Fort Street Mall was previously a Macy's department store. Walmart paid $26 million for the property and spent $6 million renovating it.

The newest store is Hawaii's first two-story Walmart. Shoppers used an elevator and escalators - there are separate escalators for their carts - to get to the second level.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) owns the adjacent 450-stall parking garage next door. Shoppers who spend at least $25 at the store can park for free for two hours.

Store Manager Ray Greigo, an 18-year Walmart veteran, said that he expects the store to draw people from between Honolulu International Airport and Chinatown, as well as the downtown lunchtime crowd.

He compared Wednesday's crowd to those that Walmart typically sees right before Christmas.

About 150 people are employed there. The store is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week.

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