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Bishops Corner Pulls in Two National Retailers

Companies poised to begin Northeast expansions in the revamped Bishops Corner Shopping Center.

The re-energizing of Bishops Corner is about to take a giant leap forward with the announcement Wednesday of two national tenants moving into the Edens property on the southwest corner of North Main St. and Albany Ave. Plans for the renovation and revitalization of this shopping center were unanimously approved by the West Hartford Town Council last spring.

The largest new tenant, “Neighborhood Market by Wal-Mart,” will open by late 2012 in the long-vacant 50,000 square foot space once occupied by Adams Supermarket. The adjacent parking garage will be demolished this spring, paving the way for additional site improvements.

According to Jodie McClean, President and Chief Investment Officer of Edens, Neighborhood Market is not to be confused with a big box store. “The Neighborhood Market is a grocery store only and will offer the same brand name goods and products that are offered in West Hartford’s other traditional grocery stores. It will offer fresh produce, groceries, and household goods from familiar brand names and local producers,” McClean said via email.

Customers should expect goods to be sold at “great everyday value,” and as the opening nears, the company will determine the final layout and inventory of local products, McClean said. According to a release issued by Edens, Neighborhood Market plans to hire more than 100 new full and part-time employees.

There are currently 181 Neighborhood Market stores nationwide, but the West Hartford store will be the first in Connecticut as well as the first venture into the northeast. The nearest store is in Washington, D.C.

Director of Community Services Rob Rowlson said he is “very, very happy about Neighborhood Market.” Rowlson is pleased that a new market is occupying the former market space, and also that Neighborhood Market will be offering brand name products at a discount.

“It’s good for the regeneration of the plaza, and the competition is good for the neighborhood,” Rowlson said. He has reviewed photos of other Neighborhood Market stores, and is pleased with their upscale appearance.

Although the style of Neighborhood Market may not fit the typical mold of a traditional big box Wal-Mart store, it will offer the reasonable pricing that customers of the discounter have come to expect. “Wal-Mart is a very good retailer, and they have always delivered a good product at a competitive price. I think you’ll definitely find me doing some of my shopping there,” said Rowlson.

In addition to Neighborhood Market, a franchise of a national family-style restaurant will open next to in the Bishops Corner Shopping Plaza this spring. Noodles & Company, which began in Colorado in the mid-1990s, will also begin its northeast expansion with the opening of the West Hartford restaurant. Currently, the closest locations are in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.

According to their website, Noodles & Company offers “noodles, sandwiches, and salads from around the world.” The focus, not surprisingly, is on all different types of noodles, with an emphasis on American, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines. The cost of an average meal in the family-style restaurant is just $7.00, according to the website.

“I love noodles from every culture in the world – always have,” said Rowlson, who believes Noodles & Company will quickly become a West Hartford mainstay.

Other plans for the shopping center’s redevelopment are moving forward in accordance with the plans approved by the Town Council last spring.

Edens focuses on development and redevelopment with an emphasis on creating neighborhood gathering spaces, and the company is following that plan for Bishops Corner. “We are excited about re-energizing the Bishops Corner neighborhood with the redevelopment of the center. We will have several well designed and intimate gathering spaces for neighbors to meet and reconnect as well as hand picked best of class local and unique retailers that will be reflective of the community,” McClean said in the release.

Those tenants include Sacred Movement Yoga Studio, which opened next to iParty in January, and DotCom Wines which will relocate to the former Barnes & Noble space this spring. New England Integrated Health Associates, which focuses on natural and nutrition-based approaches to health and wellness, held its grand opening in late January.

Marshall’s has signed a new long-term lease and will be remodeling the interior of the store this year, and Bank of America has also signed a new long-term lease according to Edens.

Edens also reported that façade work has been completed on the exterior of Marshalls and will continue in other areas of the shopping center. Other site improvements are ongoing as well.

Rowlson is thrilled that two national organizations have chosen West Hartford to begin their Northeast expansion plans. “It shows that we’ve been doing the right things all along, and that we are a very good market. I’m very proud to say that we’re a cut above,” said Rowlson, who also views this news as a good overall indicator of the economy’s improvement.

Future updates can be found through the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association Facebook page www.facebook.com/bishopscorner, or by following @BishopsCorner on Twitter. More information about Edens can be found at www.edens.com.

stephanie smith February 16, 2012 at 12:39 PM
That's great. I have been working on the project there for over a month now. It's really going to look nice.
elizabeth February 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM
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elizabeth February 16, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Whoever wrote this article needs to learn how to formulate a sentence. The use of commas and sentences are so misplaced it made it impossible to finish reading this article.
Ronni Newton February 16, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Elizabeth - I was the one who wrote this article, and although it looked fine last night when I signed off, a system update overnight deleted all of the text that had links to our places directory. I have gone back in and added that text so it should make sense now! I'm glad you said something!
Nan L. Glass February 16, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Noodles & Company will be a fun and not too pricey addition to the restaurant scene in WH. I am familiar with their shop in Durham, NC and it is a family favorite. It's too bad that there will be yet another grocery store at Bishops Corner, however. It would have been nice if they had found a spot in a more easterly location in WH or in the west end of Hartford to fill a great need in that area.
betty February 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM
As a resident of the Bishops Corner area, I cannot say i am pleased with either the exterior renovations (made so far) or with the choices of retailers announced in this article. Regarding the exterior renovation: what were they thinking? The choices seemed to be great at first, with the nice grays of the Asian restaurant on the northeast corner. I was looking forward to, and assumed that, the remainder of the property would tie into that. So where did the beige and blue around Marshalls come from? This property is turning into just another ugly shopping center. And now, to hear that a Wal-Mart market is opening there! Wal-Mart is not known to be a retailer that subscribes to either human or environmental progressive values. It is a true disappointment that the property owners made a deal with Wal-Mart for this space. Bishops Corner already has 3 supermarkets, two of which are local companies: Big Y and Crown Supermarket. the last thing we need here is another market, especially Wal-Mart. I, personally, will not shop there. Sorry to be so negative, but i am very, very disappointed with the choices that Edens has made with regard to their property in my neighborhood.
John E. Hardy February 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Several years ago the Town made an "improvement" to the intersection of Route 44, Flagg Road, and Sims Road (the lane that wraps around the rear of Marshalls/iParty etc.). This "improvement" eliminated one's ability to smoothly merge from Flagg/Sims onto Route 44 eastbound, and replaced it with what can only be termed a "cockamamie" intersection to include a serious of tandem and non-aligned perpendicular stop signs (frequently ignored by people visiting the shopping center and unfamiliar with the traffic pattern), a traffic light, and vehicles approaching from bizarre angles. Also the southbound opposite exit from the Staples/Panera plaza contains two lanes which seem to be backwards from what drivers expect. These "improvements" have made what was, in my non-traffic engineer opinion, a convenient and safe intersection into a consistent bottleneck and a hazard. I can only now imagine what the traffic will be like once a Walmart-owned property goes into the rear and significantly increases the volume of traffic entering/exiting what is already a stressed parking lot. And like @Betty I reside in the adjoining neighborhood.
Monica February 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Ewww!! Yuck!!!!' I also live in Bishops corner and this is awful news. I am shocked that zoning would allow anything with the walmart name!! Noodles sounds like a hometown buffet type place. Way to cheapen things up!!! I hope west Hartford will consider a ban on plastic bags as well.
Nathan February 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Noodles & Co is not at all similar to what you mentioned Monica. It's a noodle fast food restaurant roughly equivalent to a Panera, Cosi, or Chipotle; except it has a very different menu. They're pretty common outside of the Northeast. Chicago, Denver, etc. have several.
Sarah Raskin February 19, 2012 at 05:00 PM
A follow up article that discusses the real impact of Walmart would be great. Walmart 's stated business approach is to put other neighborhood businesses out of business; their employee policies are so bad they have been sued dozens of times due to unfair and illegal practices; they keep prices low by buying from overseas sweatshops that have no safety, environmental or health policies at all; what they sell as "organic" often strictly is, but not what you think you are buying at all. A researched news piece would be a wonderful addition to this one
Sarah Raskin April 22, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Do we still want a Walmart in West Hartford? Aren't we better than this? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/business/at-wal-mart-in-mexico-a-bribe-inquiry-silenced.html
Saul Freedman April 23, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Ewww Wal-Mart in West Hartford? We won't have a leg up in the snooty scale on Bloomfield anymore!
king of we ha April 23, 2012 at 01:34 PM
This is not a normal Wal-Mart. It is a high-end Wal-Mart grocery store. It's basically a Whole Foods but everything is 20% of the price. This will be a valuable addition to the corner. They will carry 'local produce' which I don't understand how anyone can disagree with.
Doug April 24, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Be warned good folks of West Hartford, this is no high end supermarket by any means and absolutely, definitely not a Whole Foods. In just about every town and every state in this country-especially out west- the Walmart Neighborhood Stores have decimated the neighborhood businesses that populate and surround these stores. This will not be the only Walmart Neighborhood Store opening up in CT either. There will be more. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-study-shows-when-walmart-comes-to-your-neighborhood-expect-lost-jobs-and-millions-in-lost-in-wages-2012-04-23
king of we ha April 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Doug thinks we should just leave the eye sore that is the empty concrete parking structure and have that giant space continue to be vacant. Because that attracts jobs and makes the town money.
Sarah Raskin April 25, 2012 at 12:20 PM
This is not about snooty. This is about exploiting people and breaking the law. How do you think they offer at 20% less? By ignoring labor and environmental laws, and taking advantage of workers overseas. Is it worth it? Since when is obeying the law being "snooty"? And, I completely fail to understand how this is the ONLY option for that empty space. Why assume that if Doug doesn't want WalMart he wants an empty space. I drive around CT a lot and I have noticed there are other stores out there. Or even green space.
king of we ha April 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Sarah, do you have an iPhone? Do you own Nike products? Do you drink Coca-Cola? I could go on. These companies have all been linked to labor and environmental violations yet we as consumers continue to purchase these products with no issue at all. It's a grocery store. It is a Wal-Mart grocery store yes, but I'm sure as I have in the past, you have gone to Wal-Mart and purchased goods. Give it a chance and let's see how it is and how it effects our town before we pass judgement just because it has the Wal-Mart name associated with it.
Sarah Raskin April 26, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Yes! I couldn't agree with you more! Yes, every dollar we spend on a product is a vote for the way that company does business. Yes, we should all strive to find companies with fair trade and ethical policies and yes, we should avoid those that don't. No, I have never shopped at a Walmart and I never will. While many companies are questionable, Walmart is the bottom of the barrel. It is not an accident but their explicit policies that are unethical and exploitative. See the many links above. Why should we"wait and see" with a company that has a proven track record of doing all the wrong things?
Sarah Raskin May 02, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Is this the kind of business we want to support?? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/walmart-overtime-labor-department-settlement_n_1470543.html?1335975386
Southern Charm... May 31, 2012 at 06:57 PM
All you "snooty" people who are too good for Walmart can bitch about it all you want and spend your money on overpriced groceries. But those of us who have sense and the concept of the value of a dollar might actually like and benefit from Walmart. I myself am a southerner who loves a good Walmart and I prefer to spend my money wisely so that I can do all the financial splurging on my children!
king of we ha May 31, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Haley, I couldn't agree more. Well said. I'll see you there some time because I will be sure to check it out. One more note; this will bring people from other towns into West Hartford. That means an influx of spending for the West Hartford markets. It is a win-win.
Andrew A June 01, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Invite Wal-Mart and there goes the neigborhood as they say.... Pajamas seem to be acceptable attire when shopping there.
Sarah Raskin October 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM
About 12 percent of the 3,044 federal court lawsuits against Walmart since 2009 involved issues with employment, according to data by Bloomberg. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/meredith-boucher-walmart_n_1959072.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
Sarah Raskin October 17, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Fun facts on WalMart for all you WalMart lovers: 80% of WalMart workers are on food stamps Store employees receive 2.66 billion in government aid each year So, WalMart pays so little that we as taxpayers foot the bill in food stamps, medicaid, etc., while the Waltons get rich. Walmart founder Sam Walton once said, "We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment." Now do you understand where those low prices come from?
Ronnie October 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM
When I was laid off in 2009 and unemployed for 2.5 years I learned the value of my grocery dollar. It was actually worth the drive to the Super Walmart in Wallingford to buy my groceries. When it's your survival you do what you have to do. Only the cushy comfortable people can afford to worry about how Walmart makes its money. I'm just happy it was there and I was able to benefit from it when I needed it the most. If not for that, Aldi and Price Rite I don't know how I would have survived. Now I am thrilled to hear that a grocery Walmart is coming so close to me. Even though I am working now I am still strapped for money after all that time being unemployed, plus I am not making the money I made pre-recession and prices have gone up. So to me, the Walmart is a godsend. Now I can stop driving to Wallingford, although I was able to get much cheaper gasoline there, so it made the trip worthwhile. To all you food snobs - This Walmart will be just like any other supermarket only cheaper. It's not sub-standard but it's not Whole Foods either. And to all you complainers about how it will put other businesses out of business, that's the law of survival in the retail world. If you don't like it perhaps you should admit that you're really Socialists and not Republicans in name only.
Petra Mulero January 27, 2013 at 10:52 PM
I respect everyone opinion,I am a single mom with 4 children been unemployed for about a year while been out of work I went back to school to improve my educación and still in the process in reaching my goals.I have to thank walmart for giving me the oppourtunity to join there team and be part of the walmart neighborhood market and I know there are other stories like mines thank you for helping the economy by bringing jobs to are community.

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