Make us your home page
Instagram

Opening of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market relieves neighbors

CLEARWATER — Here's one case where people in a North Pinellas neighborhood are actually happy that a Wal-Mart is coming.

There are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, this won't be the kind of big box store that has sparked intense opposition in places like Tarpon Springs. Instead, it'll be one of Wal-Mart's smaller "Neighborhood Market" grocery stores.

For another thing, it's opening Jan. 7 in what was a vacant building in a long-neglected Clearwater shopping plaza on N Highland Avenue, just south of Sunset Point Road.

"It was really rundown, a terrible eyesore. For about a decade it was a dead Winn-Dixie. The parking lot was used for all kinds of nefarious things," said Bruce Cambique, a board member of Fountain Square Condominiums next door. "They've done a nice job cleaning it up."

This is the first of Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Markets to open in North Pinellas. Another one is planned for next spring or summer in Largo, in the Barclay Square shopping center at Walsingham and Indian Rocks roads, said company spokeswoman Quenta Vettel.

The first one in Pinellas County opened last September on U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park. There's also one in Tampa.

These stores are basically a 24-hour grocery and drugstore in one building. The grocery has a bakery and deli, and the drugstore has a full-service, drive-through pharmacy.

Unlike a Wal-Mart Supercenter, these supermarkets carry no other kinds of merchandise such as tires, computers or clothes. The intent is to draw customers who have neither the time nor the desire to go to the larger supercenters.

Wal-Mart introduced its neighborhood market concept in 1998 in Arkansas and now has more than 130 of them nationwide.

In recent years, Wal-Mart has been steadily opening new supercenters and neighborhood markets throughout Florida, where it's muscling into the grocery business. It's now Florida's second biggest grocery retailer, behind Publix.

It's also competing with Winn-Dixie, Sweetbay and Albertsons, among others. In fact, there's a Sweetbay just north of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market that's about to open on N Highland Avenue.

Neighbors along N Highland are fine with having another shopping option. But they're more pleased that the long-dead grocery store in the Highland Square shopping center has a new lease on life.

"There were only a few businesses over there, nothing to attract much clientele," said Cambique, the nearby condo resident. "Now they've done a lot of landscaping. It's going to be nice."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

fast Facts

Wal-Mart's neighborhood markets

• They're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• They're designed for people wanting to make quick grocery trips. The average time spent in one is 20 minutes.

• Half the checkout stations are self-service.

Opening of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market relieves neighbors 12/27/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 3:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]