Can a Big-Box Store Fit into a Mercado-Style Neighborhood?

Wal-Martwill open 11 other markets like this across California

Wal-Mart announced on Thursday that they would be turning the old Farmer’s Market building in Logan Heights into one of their new locations -- except this Wal-Mart will be about a third of the store’s typical size.

It’s a part of Wal-Mart’s new efforts to create Neighborhood Market stores throughout the country. They will supply everything a regular Wal-Mart does just at a smaller scale.

In a low-income neighborhood like Logan Heights, this will be one of the first big chain stores in their area.

“It’s history. We’ve been serving the community since the beginning until now,” said George, the owner of the Arrow Market, the grocery store he has been managing for more than 30 years.
He keeps an old photo of the original Arrow Market in his office to remember the store's century-old past. The new Wal-mart will be blocks from his store and he's concerned for his employees.

“If the new Wal-Mart comes in, I will probably let a lot of my employees go because Wal-Mart is going to take a lot of business from me and all the small businesses in the area," he said.

The neighborhood is full of small “mercado” style shops but residents say they are traveling outside of the area to get all of their grocery needs.

Barbara Ross has lived in this neighborhood her entire life. She said she spends up to $300 a month on groceries and to get better deals she said she travels to the Wal-Mart in National City.

“It takes an hour to get there by bus. I buy little things I need at convenience stores but I could be saving a lot at Wal-Mart,” said Barbara Ross.

Residents seem to be doing the same thing, traveling outside of their communities to find lower prices.

Roxanne lives in front of where the new Wal-Mart will be located and said with no car and two kids, this will make it easier for her.

“Instead of trying to find a ride or take the bus with my kids, I can walk right here and get what I need.”

Two-year resident Kimberly Williams was ecstatic to hear a new Wal-Mart was coming to town.
“I shop at Wal-Mart all the time and I have to go way out of my way to get to one. It’s too far. A lot of these stores are too high for this community. It’s only right that our community has a Wal-Mart.”
Wal-Mart will open 11 other markets like this across California.
The company also said they have always managed to co-exist with smaller businesses when they enter a new neighborhood.

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