Make us your home page

Walmart Neighborhood Market opens in Midtown

ST. PETERSBURG — Dorothy Davis spent $34.01 in a little over an hour Wednesday at the new Midtown Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Near the meat cooler in the back, Davis, 64, grabbed a package of ground beef and a bag of tilapia filets. She pulled a 12-pack of Coke from the display where cases were arranged to spell "MIDTOWN" and dropped a package of hot dogs in her cart.

"My grandbaby loves these," she said. "He's 5 years old."

Davis and her sister, 77-year-old Queen E. Flowers, came to the new store's opening about 7:15 a.m. They waited through a ribbon-cutting and a message from the city's deputy mayor because they wanted to celebrate the reappearance of a grocery store in their neighborhood.

A Sweetbay Supermarket used to occupy this space at 1794 22nd St. S, but it closed last February.

"This Midtown community has been without a grocery store for a total of a year," store manager Carl Spady said. "That's just totally unacceptable."

Until Wednesday, Davis shopped at a Walmart farther away. This one is only a five-minute drive from her home.

"I'm excited," Davis said. "I'm excited for the ones who don't have transportation and can come here, and for the ones who do have transportation, they can stop by on their way to work."

Shoppers lined up outside the store before dawn.

Joanne Coley, 58, took care of her Super Bowl shopping Wednesday. "I've been waiting for this all year," she said.

Coley said a spot like this could bring people together, and Walmart pulled out all the stops to emphasize community connection. Local leaders said that Midtown badly needed this new addition and called the failure of Sweetbay a lesson on the need to support their local grocery, said Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.

Tomalin said Walmart's lower prices could help, as well.

"They understand the critical role that location plays for that neighborhood, and they've pledged their partnership to do everything they can to make it work," Tomalin said.

Spady said Walmart is ready. Aisles were packed and cash registers were busy Wednesday morning, while free cake and snack samples dotted most corners.

"We just want to be a pillar in this community," Spady said.

Many employees live nearby. Walmart employs 105 people at this location.

Trailed by her sister, Davis ran into Spady near the checkout line. The store manager tried to shake her hand and thank her for shopping. She refused.

"I'm not done yet!" she told him.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at or (727) 893-8804. Follow @clairelwiseman on Twitter.

Walmart Neighborhood Market opens in Midtown 01/29/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.