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Walmart Neighborhood Market To Open Wednesday Morning in West Hartford

A peek inside Connecticut's first Neighborhood Market, which will hold a ribbon-cutting at the new Bishops Corner store at 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 20.

West Hartford will have another grocery store, and the town's first Walmart-owned business, when Neighborhood Market opens its doors to customers at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

A brief ceremony and ribbon-cutting will kick off the grand opening celebration which will include product samplings, giveaways, and various entertainment events.

On Tuesday evening, as associates were finishing stocking shelves and the final touches were being put on the store's interior, Manager Stacey McCarty provided a sneak peek inside the store.

"Neighborhood Market will become special to the West Hartford community," McCarty said. She said many will find the low prices "shocking" for the area since most of Walmart's prices are standard throughout the country.

The store, at approximately 60,000 square feet, is smaller than what shoppers would expect from a Walmart, and roughly the size of many area supermarkets.

"We're about overall shopping convenience," McCarty said. Dairy and produce are in the same aisle, and if you enter the store, head to the left, and shop in a clockwise direction you will automatically pick up the freshest products right before you leave.

The aisle nearest the door is also where the "Grab and Go" is located – stocked with rotisserie chickens ($5.98) and Neighborhood Market's "fried" chicken which is really steam-baked. (McCarty assured this Patch reporter that it would be a popular item with her teenage son and his friends.) "Take-and-bake" pizzas, as well as standard deli sides, fresh bread, and bakery items are also readily available.

Although Neighborhood Market is opening in the space last occupied by Adam's Supermarket, there's no shortage of existing grocery stores in Bishops Corner, with Big Y, Whole Foods, and Crown Supermarket already housed in three of the area's four corner shopping centers. "Whole Foods is very focused on organics, specialties. It's a different kind of grocery shopping," McCarty said. Neighborhood Market is not really competing with Whole Foods, or with Crown Market, although the store does stock kosher foods.

Its main competitor in Bishops Corner is likely Big Y. "I hope this lowers prices for both of us," McCarty said.

McCarty hopes customers will find some major advantages to shopping at Neighborhood Market, including its selection of celebration items; pet department that includes leashes, collars, and toys; large pharmacy; a large selection of baby products; and an extensive health and beauty section that is identical to that found in a Walmart Supercenter.

It's also arranged for convenience, with vacuums near the cleaning supplies and baking pans near the baking supplies, McCarty said. In addition, specialty products, such as kosher and gluten-free foods, are mixed in with their base items rather than in their own sections, she said.

Neighborhood Market doesn't sell apparel or electronics, but they do offer "Site-to-Store" service, which ships online orders from www.walmart.com free to the store for pickup.

The store is also open for extended hours – from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but McCarty said if there's a demand for even more extended hours, "We'll jump on it."

McCarty said the Bishops Corner location was chosen as the site of Connecticut's first Neighborhood Market because of its availability. "This building had been abandoned for years, and we saw it as an opportunity to reinvent the neighborhood. We took an eyesore and it's now a beautiful store," she said.

“We are very pleased to have Walmart make this investment in our community,” said West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle in a news release. He called the venture a "welcome concept," and said, "The facility they are occupying has been empty for many years and having that store put back into use is a boom for our local economy, the shoppers and their employees.”

Neighborhood Market will initially employ 130 associates in the Bishops Corner store, although McCarty said that number would presumably drop over time due to attrition. Approximately 40 percent are full time, she said, and 87 percent are new hires to the company. About 15 are transfers from other stores, most into key new positions.

McCarty herself is a transfer from North Attleboro, MA, where she was a co-manager. She began her career with Walmart nearly 12 years ago as a part-time cashier, and said this is her eleventh store in her fifth state.

McCarty said that Neighborhood Market also looks forward to giving back to the local community, and has already donated 11 pallets – about 11,000 pounds – of fresh produce and other items to Foodshare.

"We're delighted to be in the northeast with Neighborhood Market, and this is a a great place to start," said Community & Media Relations Manager Bill Wertz.

For more information, call 860-509-1705 or visit  www.walmart.com.

Jon DiBenedetto February 20, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Wasn't three groceries at Bishops Corner enough?
Concerned Resident February 20, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Walmart as a grocery store is a joke. They are a cheap clothing and electronics that's sole purpose is to drive any competition out by selling cheap, made in china goods below cost sometimes just to force the competition out. My family will never shop there or even enter the place. We have three great stores representing our Town admirably and already doing right by us don't think for a minute that Walmart cares about our community.
Dorothea B. February 21, 2013 at 01:51 PM
I have been living in West Hartford a little over two years and I happen to live right by Bishop's corner. I have shopped at all three grocery stores and found them all to be very pricey. Everything on my end of town is higher priced, not just food but gas too. The minute I go over toward the area near Shoprite, the prices fall and yet it is still West Hartford. I don't feel we should have to pay extra just for the privilege of living on this side of town. I welcome the competition to make prices fair and competitive. I'm not a fan of Walmart by any stretch. I know they are too powerful and too big to fail. I know that thousands of Mom and Pop stores get forced out of business because they don't have the buying power that Walmart has. The bottom line is this: I am forced to shop where I get the most for my money. I went to the new Neighborhood Market yesterday and I was very pleased with the quality and the prices. I certainly won't feel bad shopping there to save money when gas prices at Bishop's corner yesterday were all $4.07 a gallon but it was priced a lot cheater across town. I am happy to see the new store and so is my wallet.
Sarah Raskin February 23, 2013 at 10:34 PM
I certainly understand the need for lower prices. But ask yourself, how do they keep the prices low? Why can they charge less then others? The answer is by paying their employees poverty wages, giving no benefits, running sweatshops overseas (in which people recently died due to poor safety), violating health standards. If you don't care about other people but only prices consider this--they have large numbers of health violations (food often sold after sell-by date or just moldy) and they have been found to put signs that say "organic" over food that is not. Further a recent report found that they are cheaper for processed and canned food but are not any cheaper for fresh produce. Don't assume that because it is Walmart you are getting cheaper prices on produce.
West Hartford tax payer February 24, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Don't blame Walmart about the pricing, Blame the goverment to allow good paying factory jobs to go overseas.
maryann February 24, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Agree that the government is at fault with businesses going overseas and high prices on everything.
maryann February 24, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Glad to have you in our neighborhood. The prices of Big Y are ridiculous and I hope that people go over to this new store and shop.
Sarah Raskin February 24, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Walmart vs. Government: Not sure what you are trying to say there. 1. Walmart receives 1.2 BILLION dollars in tax breaks and grants from the government every year. 2. Walmart workers in every state are the largest recipients of medicare and food stamps because they get paid so little and get no benefits. What more do you want the government (in other words your tax dollars) to do for Walmart before they do the right thing? It is just greed, plain and simple
Arsenia Levie March 11, 2013 at 09:28 PM
It was my very first time going to the new Wal-mart market, the food you buy there is very cheap, I knew that Big Y can be a lot of different way to spend money on gas and food you need , is that possbile
jennifer October 15, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Stacy mccarthy is a horrible manager. She would take credit for assosiates and other managers work. After a assosiate making nothing would clean a department or set up a big display (xmas trees, garden displays, grocery displays) she would take a picture of it and send it to the obliviouse district manager john montell giving no credit to the assosiates who did all the work. She would take 50 smoke breaks all day and do nothing. Why dident she ever bother to take pictures of the grotesc bathrooms or dangeoruse holes in the ground or broken shelves? What about the parking lot with carts everywere or the bad backroom conditions the wal slaves that unload the truck and make the store minimum and do all the work. Or all the bailers that violate safty standards because the gate is alwsys broken and you can loose fingers. Manager exposed for the lazy person they are. P.S. stacy go brush your funky jacked up teeth and quit rollerdurby you used to come into work sweaty and smelly like a construction worker.

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