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Sunday, 21 April 2013 21:03

Walmart Neighborhood Market to Hire 95, Construction “On Track”

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Walmart Neighborhood Market Fresh Produce Display Walmart Neighborhood Market Fresh Produce Display Courtesy of Walmart
Turlock's new Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store, under construction at the former site of Mervyn's on Geer Road, is set to open in late 2013, officials said.

“Construction is on track,” said Delia Garcia, Walmart spokesperson.

And when the Walmart Neighborhood Market opens, it will bring approximately 95 new jobs with it, Garcia said. Positions available will range from part-time to supervisory and managerial.

Garcia was unable to state how many full-time employees the store would hire, but said that “the majority” of positions at Walmart are full-time. The average hourly full-time Walmart employee earns $12.93 per hour in California, Garcia said, with access to health insurance, a 401(k), and employee discounts.

Hiring for the store will begin in late summer, with a hiring center expected to open at the Walmart Neighborhood Market construction site. Prospective employees will also be able to apply online at http://careers.walmart.com/.

“We're always looking for strong talent to serve our customers,” Garcia said.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets eschew the traditional Walmart store's lineup of electronics, clothing, sporting goods, and toys, instead serving as a dedicated Walmart-owned supermarket. According to Garcia, the grocery store will meet unfulfilled need in Turlock.

“We see a need for additional grocery options,” Garcia said. “Customers have been looking for additional options for fresh, affordable groceries.”

The Walmart Neighborhood Market will include a full supermarket line of groceries, produce, meat, dairy, deli items, pharmacy services, and a money center.

The array of available groceries is similar to what shoppers might traditionally see in a Walmart Supercenter, Garcia said, but tailored to the specific community. The Turlock store may feature locally-grown produce, or popular regional foods, though Garcia said the store's merchandising plan is still in development.

The new store, opening in the former home of Turlock's Mervyn's, will be about 62,000 square feet. That's roughly half the size of Turlock's existing Walmart, which is 125,000 square feet, but larger than the average, 38,000 square foot Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The store is said to be “more convenient” than a traditional Walmart, due to its more compact size and central location, while still offering Walmart's low prices and familiar layout.

“Those are that are familiar with Walmart, it will look very similar to what they know,” Garcia said.

Though the Neighborhood Market does not include the full line of products carried at a traditional Walmart, shoppers can order any item from Walmart.com “site-to-store” and have it delivered to the Market at no cost, Garcia said.

The store offers another benefit to the community, Garcia said, by filling the long-vacant Mervyn's building and bringing new life to the shopping center.

“We are revitalizing that vacant retail building,” Garcia said, nothing the building has sat vacant since the Mervyn's chain's 2009 bankruptcy.

Turlock Planning Commissioners approved repurposing the former Mervyn's as a 24-hour discount grocery store in April, 2012, with no tenant formally attached to the project. However, building elevations at that time showed the building repainted in Walmart Neighborhood Markets' brown and tan color scheme.

The store was formally financed earlier this year, Garcia said. Though a 24-hour store is allowed for the site, Garcia was unable to confirm the store's operating hours.

Walmart's efforts to site a grocery store in Turlock date back to at least 2003, when the chain planned to open a Walmart Supercenter in Monte Vista Crossings. The Turlock City Council responded by passing an ordinance banning “discount superstores,” which combine large general goods stores with on-site supermarkets. Turlock's ordinance was upheld by a federal court in 2006, preventing Walmart from building the Supercenter.

Garcia was unable to state specifically when planning began for the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.

“It is another way to serve our customers,” Garcia said. “It has a specific purpose, and it is another way to serve our customers.”

To view a video tour of a Walmart Neighborhood Market, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOcm3Xnl3TE.

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