By Tom Barry
These days, it’s all about convenience for grocery shopping. As a result, Walmart is in the process of opening smaller stores where you can pick up your groceries, prescriptions and some hard goods and be in and out quickly.
In this southwest Denver metro store near the Littleton city limits, Walmart has opened its ninth Neighborhood Market in Colorado, the fifth in the Denver area and second in the Littleton area, only 3 miles away. The new store at 8196 W. Bowles Ave. at South Wadsworth Boulevard staged a colorful grand opening event June 12 that was tailored to the community.
Within a 3-mile stretch and several minutes of the new Neighborhood Market, there are two King Soopers, a Safeway, a Sprouts, a Whole Foods Market, a Sam’s Club and a Costco.
The trend is to make grocery shopping quicker and easier without having to contend with a massive parking lot and considerable lines at a larger store, let alone a superstore or a warehouse retailer. Walmart has been running print and broadcast ads extensively extolling lower prices. King Soopers has just begun countering with competing ads.
Jennifer Plant, the general manager of the Walmart Neighborhood Market, began working for Walmart when she was 16 years old. Her husband manages another area Walmart store. Plant, in her first job as manager, ran the Neighborhood Market at Bowles Avenue and Platte Canyon for the last year before the recent promotion.
“I found my favorite customer in a pre-grand opening event for area residents that included the adjacent Concordia senior-living neighborhood off the lake,” said Plant who is constantly walking the aisles asking customers if she can assist them in finding any item. “He [the new favorite customer] was so funny and full of life and said he would come over here and speed up and down the aisles in his electric wheelchair.”
This senior is a youthful 99 years old and he requested he have his 100th birthday at the new Neighborhood Market for friends and family and the Walmart staff. Plant obliged and had it approved by the state’s executive director of Neighborhood Markets. The celebration is on.
Walmart Neighborhood Market employs around 110 staff working full and part time and is open 24 hours a day. The market was a former Ultimate Electronics store that went through two bankruptcies and finally liquidated and closed in 2011.
The Neighborhood Market has 38,000 square feet and offers a full line of groceries, a pharmacy, along with health and beauty products, household goods, and pet products and supplies.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets proclaims they will match prices of any grocery or pharmacy, including Sam’s Club, King Soopers and Costco.
Walmart’s slogan is “Save money, Live better.”
The Columbine High School Jazz Band struck up the music to begin the event at 7:30 a.m., as customers gathered, along with employees, friends and Walmart executives from other area stores. The Columbine High cheerleaders performed two cheers for the audience.
The new Neighborhood Market presented $7,500 in checks to support area and state organizations including: the Columbine High band and cheerleaders, Boy Scout Troop 579, the Foothills Foundation, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership group and Operation Homefront’s Rocky Mountain Chapter in Colorado Springs.
Pharmacy Manager Jessie Bailey went door-to-door in advance of the Neighborhood Market opening, introducing herself to the community residents. She also assisted in constructing a handicapped ramp for a nearby resident. Each month, Bailey volunteers at a nearby mall providing seniors an extensive medication review and explanation of their current prescriptions.