It has taken eight years, but a flurry of Walmart Neighborhood Markets are opening in June in the Denver area.
Two of the grocery stores – on in Arvada and one in south Denver – will open this Wednesday. The other two will open in Littleton and east Denver on June 19.
A Walmart Neighborhood Market is a grocery store that typically ranges in size from about 42,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet, which compares to the average of 185,000 square feet for a Walmart super store that includes a grocery store and 108,000 square feet of a regular Walmart.
The five stores in Denver will create about 400 jobs. The Walmart Foundation also is donating $5,000 in grant for each store for a total of $25,000. The grant money goes to local organizations.
On Wednesday, a 57.500-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market will open in the Arvada Town Shopping Center at 14605 W. 64th Ave., in a former Albertson’s that had been vacant for almost five years.
“We are excited that this new store is bringing jobs to Arvada,” said Dot Wright, president of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. “Our resident look forward to welcoming this store as a vibrant part of the west Arvada community.”
The store will employ about 80. The average wage at a Walmart for a full-time hourly employee in Colorado is $13.24 per hour. Wal-Mart also offers matching 401(k) contributions up to 6 percent of pay, discounts on general merchandise, a stock purchase program and a company-paid life insurance policy. Almost 75 percent of Walmart store managers began their careers as hourly employees.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets include a full-line of groceries, including a bakery, self-service deli, meat and dairy products, fresh produce, frozen foods and organic items. They also include a pharmacy, health and beauty aids, pet and cleaning products, hardware, stationery and a digital processing center. The Arvada store will also carry low-alcohol beer.
Also on Wednesday, a 52,719-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market will open at 1442 S. Parker Road. On June 29, a 42,459-square-foot store will open at 3516 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton and a 57,559-square-foot at 5141 Chambers Road, Denver.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. planned to open the first Neighborhood Market in 2004 at West 38th Avenue and Wolff Street in Highlands’ Garden Village.
Neighbors protested the store and took credit when Wal-Mart decided to pull the plug on it. However, at the time, Wal-Mart officials said the protests had no bearing on its decision. In fact, Wal-Mart was fighting much larger protests in places such as California and Chicago at the time and typically winning.
Rather, they said that Wal-Mart was not ready to bring multiple Neighborhood Markets to the Denver area, as there was room for more superstores. Denver would have been the only market in the country with only one Neighborhood Market, so it made no sense to build it, as it wouldn’t bring the economies of scale of multiple stores, they said. Indeed, a nearby Walmart superstore is under construction on West 44th Avenue, just west of Sheridan Boulevard, in Lakeside. Earlier, a Wal-Mart official said that was the last superstore going forward in the Denver area.
A Sunflower Farmers Market, soon to be renamed as a Sprouts, opened where the Neighborhood Market was first envisioned.
Nationwide, Wal-Mart is opening eight Walmart stores in June, which will bring the total to almost 200. The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998 in Bentonville, Ark., where Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is headquartered.
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