Walmart will be opening in Boulder in early October and employ at least 85 people, the store manager said Thursday.

In an interview with the Camera, store manager Adiena Holder gave new details about the planned Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store at 3303 30th St., a Diagonal Plaza space formerly occupied by Ross and PetSmart.

Though she would not provide a specific date for the grand opening, Holder said renovations at the space continue, and the store should open in early October.

Walmart has hired 58 people for the Boulder location and plans to hire at least 85 and possibly as many as 95 people. Walmart continues to hire for sales staff, overnight stocking, cashiers and maintenance positions, Holder said.

She declined to say how many positions are full-time or part-time, but she said the majority of Walmart's Colorado associates work full-time, with an average starting wage of $13.75 an hour.

Full-time employees and part-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week are eligible for health benefits, a quarterly bonus program, company-paid life insurance, a 401(k) program and a stock purchase program, Holder said.

The company prioritizes hiring from within, she said. Holder started working for Walmart part-time in a garden center.

The company also puts applications from veterans at the front of the line, though Holder said she has seen fewer applications from veterans at the Boulder hiring center than at other locations.

Walmart has been a frequent target of union activists and others who say they limit employees' hours so they don't qualify for benefits and engage in other unethical practices. Some community members lobbied the City Council earlier this year to prevent Walmart from opening in Boulder, though council members said there was nothing they could do.

John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, said there's no reason for Walmart not to open in Boulder.

"We welcome a diversity of shopping experiences for Boulder customers," he said. "Walmart sees an opportunity here and a need, and the consumers will decide where they want to spend their dollars."

A representative of Don't Big Box Boulder, a group opposed to Walmart, could not be reached Thursday afternoon.

Holder said she has talked to a lot of people at the hiring center, and all the interactions have been positive. She said many people in Boulder already shop at Walmart locations in Longmont, Lafayette and Broomfield.

"Those customers are already shopping at Walmart, and this store will bring that money back to Boulder," she said. "We're really excited for the opportunity to be here in Boulder."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or meltzere@dailycamera.com.