HARKER HEIGHTS — The membership-only retail chain Sam’s Club plans to open in late September on East Central Texas Expressway.

Though General Manager Joe Tovi didn’t provide an exact number of people hired so far, he said he plans to hire more than 160 additional employees.

The fully staffed management team hires in phases so that people can give and receive proper, staggered training, Tovi said. Most of the hiring will take place before the store’s grand opening, but hiring will continue after the event.

Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Club’s parent company, has pledged to hire 100,000 veterans during the next five years, a news release stated. Tovi said the store’s location near Fort Hood will help his company hit that mark.

“I’m going to hire military folks over and over again because I’m in a military community,” Tovi said. “But if someone has talent, I’m not going to turn them away. … If you have the right skills and are the right person for the position, we’re going to hire you.”

Tovi’s hires are currently undergoing training and membership initiatives, which includes going door-to-door to recruit members, as well as informing customers at existing local Walmarts and Sam’s Club stores about the new facility.

Tovi hopes to learn how current Sam’s Club members feel about the store in Temple and how the Harker Heights location can correct any flaws.

Tovi said Mayor Mike Aycock will participate in the grand opening and he hopes to collaborate with the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce in planning some type of community event at City Hall before the store opens.

The store’s construction company, MYCON General Contractors, was not immediately available for comment.

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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