Make us your home page
Instagram

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 cwiseman@tampabay.com 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

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]