Sam's Club will be open for business early on Thursday morning.

The new store located at 220 U.S. Hwy. 1 in Aiken opens at 8:30 a.m. Aiken Sam's Club Manager Gerald Raymond said there are approximately 180 energetic associates ready to serve Sam's Club members.

“We're very excited,” Raymond said. “It's been a long time coming, and we are really humbled by the support that we've received from the community.”

Raymond has been the manager of three other Sam's Clubs, but said this is the first time he has worked with a store starting from the ground up. He said there's been some challenges, but it's been a memorable experience.

In a press release, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., offered congratulations to the new business.

“I know you will find our best assets to be the people of South Carolina,” Graham stated in the release. “We believe in hard work, determination and character. I know that you will do well in this community and anticipate you will have many years of prosperity.”

The Aiken Sam's Club is approximately 136,000 square feet, which is large enough to fit two football fields inside, the release reads.

The Aiken store includes a hearing aid center, optical center, pharmacy, fresh produce, meats, a variety of office supplies, electronics and more. A six-pump gas station is also on site.

The membership-only retail warehouse club owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the nation's eighth largest retailer and has more than 47 million members across the country as well as in Brazil, China and Mexico, according to a press release.

Aiken Sam's Club Membership and Hiring Center is open today at 156 University Parkway (Suites 101-103) for anyone interested in purchasing a membership. Starting Thursday, memberships can be obtained at the store.

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A soft opening for current members will take place today at 5 p.m.

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.