SALEM, Ind. (WDRB) -- Salem, Ind., has little more than 6,000 residents. Many neighbors say they drive several miles away for everyday items, especially late at night. They might drive 20 miles to Scottsburg or Paoli, or maybe even 40 miles to Louisville.

"Being a parent, [I'm] getting ready [for] flu season. If we needed Pedialyte, there was nowhere to go but about 20 or 25 minutes away to get your Pedialyte," said Scott Durham, assistant store manager for Wal-Mart.

That will change on Wednesday when the area's first big box retailer, Wal-Mart, opens.

"It's probably the biggest thing to happen to Salem, maybe ever," said Michael King, Wal-Mart store manager.

The store is bringing more than just toys, clothes and groceries to town. Wal-Mart is bringing hundreds of jobs.

"300 plus," King said.

Applications poured in like a flood. King says he could have filled the positions twice with the number of people who applied.

"This community has been amazing. I've been at Wal-Mart for almost 20 years, and I've never had this type of reception," King said.

Durham was born and raised in Salem. He was hired with a group of others who previously worked at a local thrift store. They say the pay at Wal-Mart is much higher than they're used to and it’s helping them better provide for their families.

"They had as much as a 40 percent rate increase from what they were previously getting paid. So this whole experience has been phenomenal," Durham said.

Durham says Walmart also brings him an opportunity for career advancement that he's never had.

The Salem Walmart doors open to customers for the first time at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16. 

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