NORTH BRUNSWICK - After two years of renovations, Walmart on Tuesday celebrated that opening of its expanded Supercenter store, just over the city's border in North Brunswick.

The now 190,000-square-foot store on Route 1 will be open 24-hours-a-day. It features a garden center, pharmacy, photo center, vision and glasses center and a McDonald’s restaurant, among other offerings.

First opened 25 years ago in the shopping center on Route 1, just north of Route 130, the store now employs more than 400 full- and part-time employees, including 150 positions resulting from the expansion.

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Within the coming weeks, the mega-store will offer customers the opportunity to order groceries online and then pick-up  at the store at a pre-selected time, without leaving their cars.

To mark the opening, Walmart contributed $1,000 to: John Adams Elementary School in North Brunswick; the food and hunger program at New Creation of the Apostolic Faith Church, in Franklin Township: New Brunswick High School; and North Brunswick High School.

“Walmart has proudly supported North Brunswick as a retailer, jobs provider, and contributor to civic and charitable organizations,” Manager Brian Suckie said of the location.

The backbone of the Walmart operation is the Supercenter. In its latest annual report, the company announced it has 3,288 Supercenters in the U.S, an increase of 130 in the last year. The average size of a Supercenter is 179,000 square feet, and the stores offer both merchandise and groceries. Nearly all of these giant stores are open 24-hours-a day.

The original big-box Walmart store is now called a Discount Store, and the company has been closing these stores or converting them to Supercenters for at least the last five years. 

The Walmart empire includes 73 stores in New Jersey; 31 Supercenters, 32 Discount Stores and 10 Sam's Clubs. There are 20,777 employees in the state wth an average wage of $13.93 an hour. Walmart pays $62.9 million in taxes to New Jersey.