A look inside

The inside of a Vec Housing Unit is seen in the Walmart parking lot on Thursday. The Williston store is the only Walmart in the country to sell the housing units.

The Williston Walmart parking lot used to be the go-to place for people living in trailers and motor homes. Now the store is selling housing units in its parking lot — for $24,900 apiece.

The units, in the shape of a cube, are made by Vec Technology, LLC. There are two bunks inside, a flat-screen TV, a heating and air-conditioning unit, a refrigerator, a fold-out table, a desk and a small closet — all enclosed in an 8-foot wide by 8-foot tall by 10-foot long structure.

“We are the only Walmart in the country that sells them,” said Ryan Keller, store manager for the Williston Walmart.

He said Vec approached Wal-Mart corporate about selling the units, and Wal-Mart agreed. The units arrived to the Williston parking lot a few days ago.

The units are located in the same area of the parking lot where a few months ago, more than a dozen recreational vehicles could be seen every day, and even more at night. In February, Walmart hired a security guard and cracked down on those living in the parking lot. The store quickly shoos off those who stray too long; many of whom have come looking for opportunity in Williston’s oil-industry-fueled job rush, which has brought in scores of people without any housing.

None of the housing units have sold yet, Keller said Thursday, but a lot of people have shown interest.

“We’re getting a lot of phone calls,” he said. Brochures of the units are available in the store, and there is a video displaying the features.

Keller said the units are ideal for work site housing “when you need to pick up the house and move it when you’re done.”

The units weigh 2,500 pounds and can be moved with a forklift. They can withstand temperatures as cold as 40-below and are built with a special coating that makes them durable to just about any kind of punishment, Keller said.

The price, however, may be keeping some individuals from gobbling them up.

Andy Ferrell, a 23-year-old job-seeker from Spokane, Wash., was looking at the units with his girlfriend Thursday afternoon.

But with a price tag of nearly $25,000, Ferrell said there is no way he can afford it.

“Way too expensive,” he said.


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