BENTONVILLE (KFSM)- Walmart announced Thursday (Feb. 19) a $1 billion plan to give raises to 500,000 employees. Starting in April, minimum wage for the company will be $9 an hour.
"It's actually really good to see a big corporation like Walmart thrive in the area, it brings a lot of money back to us," Blue Moon Market associate Keitlan McBride said.
Local business owners on the Bentonville square, McBride included, said they're excited to see higher paychecks for people living and shopping in Northwest Arkansas. Walmart officials said their goal is to have the company's minimum wage be raised to $10 an hour by February 1, 2016.
Dave Scoggins is a family friend of the Walton's, and has been a business owner in Bentonville for over 40 years. Scoggins recently retired, but now helps out at his daughter's business, Bleachers Sports Fan Gear & Souvenirs.
"I've watched Bentonville grow when I graduated high school it was like 3500 people, it's ten times bigger now, and I've watched Walmart grow from nothing to where it is today," Scoggins said.
He said once people get trained in a certain field, they may be ready to move on to the next job. Scoggins said Walmart is smart to raise their wages.
"You can draw big bucks elsewhere, and Walmart has lost a lot of good people that way," Scoggins said. "I think they're just trying to maintain more of them."
Walmart officials said the raises will affect both part-time and full-time employees. For more information on the announcement and Walmart's plans for the future, click here.