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Walmart's new concept opens in Gwinnett

Staff Photo: John Bohn The Neighborhood Market by Walmart will open it's doors for business on Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville on Wednesday morning. This is the first Neighborhood Market by Walmart to open in Georgia.

Staff Photo: John Bohn The Neighborhood Market by Walmart will open it's doors for business on Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville on Wednesday morning. This is the first Neighborhood Market by Walmart to open in Georgia.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Greg Toler, store manager of the first Neighborhood Market by Walmart to open in Georgia, gives a tour of the market. The Neighborhood Market will open it's doors for business on Lawrenceville Highway on Wednesday morning.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Richard Meaders stocks fresh produce at the new Neighborhood Market by Walmart. The Neighborhood Market will open it's doors for business on Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville on Wednesday morning.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Richard Meaders stocks fresh produce at the Neighborhood Market by Walmart, located on Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville. The Neighborhood Market will open for business Wednesday morning.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- What's a Walmart without an entire aisle of bikes, a whole section for furniture and half a wall devoted to televisions?

Customers can now find out, with Georgia's first Walmart Neighborhood Market, which opened at 7 a.m. this morning in Lawrenceville.

The 45,000-square-foot store -- about a quarter of the size of the traditional supercenter -- is the first local foray into the concept the retail giant branched into about 15 years ago.

"It's more about convenience in the location and the size and the products," said Greg Toler, the manager of the new store. "It's about meeting the day-to-day needs of the customer."

Located along Lawrenceville Highway at Bethesda School Road, in a storefront once boasting a Publix, the neighborhood market is three miles from Walmart's Lilburn supercenter, four miles from one of its Lawrenceville locations and seven miles from the Snellville store.

But Toler said the object isn't to compete with the mega stores. Instead, he hopes to create the "hometown grocery story atmosphere," with Walmart's famous low prices.

"We're going to really drive freshness, friendliness and convenience," Toler said

Instead of an electronics section featuring a wall of televisions and aisles of cameras, gaming systems and other big ticket items, one check-out line at the neighborhood market has a few convenience items, like printer cartridges. And a $5 DVD bin can be found near the front.

Instead of an entire section of toys and a few aisles of cards, the smaller location has half an aisle devoted to each.

Essentials like motor oil, light bulbs and socks can be found, but not a selection of tools or clothes for each member of the family.

But while gearing up for the upcoming Independence Day holiday, Toler does have about a dozen charcoal grills — one kind, not the variety you would find at a superstore.

The point, Toler said, is to stock consumable goods people will need on a more regular basis than having a store where families can check off their entire Christmas shopping list in one location.

The grocery section is about the same size, although there is a focus on locally grown produce and prices may be a few pennies higher than the supercenter.

"It's got all the basic needs," he said.

Toler said he is especially proud of his employees, who began a month ago with a freshly painted but otherwise bare floor.

"The associates have built all this," he said of rows of shelves, which vendors and associates were working to finish stocking on Monday. "It's very difficult when the shelves are totally empty and you get that first truck. ... You could really see that progress."

The 24-hour operation will begin with 67 employees, although Toler said more may be hired in the coming weeks.

"I've never seen a reception to a store like this," Toler said of people stopping by to check on the progress. After working for years at the Athens supercenter, the concept is new to him, too. "The community is getting excited."

At the end of the summer, another Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to open in Snellville.

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Location of Walmart Neighborhood Market

Location of Walmart Neighborhood Market

Comments

teelee 2 years, 6 months ago

Great another place to buy all of those Chinese products. At least there will be new jobs. Hang in there Snellville Kmart, I love your Craftsman tools!

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

Anybody remember when Walmart Proudly advertised "Buy American"? and all their products were just that? Shoot, now the only thing thats American is the currency....LOL

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dadopee 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh, you're so wrong! China owns the old greenback. Walmart provides employment and prices most people can afford. What's wrong with that. That's not American enough?

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CD 2 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully, the new concept store will be a little less filthy and perhaps actually have a checkout lane open, but I only shop there as a last resort and do not intend to change that.

While in college, I wrote an essay about Wal-Mart, actually in support of the company. With age and experience, I learned my lesson and have realized that Chinese imports are a drug that we should wean ourselves from.

If the average wage at Wallyworld is 11.75/hr (and I doubt it is that high), adjusted for inflation, my hourly pay at Mervyn's 20+ years ago, while working in the summer on college break, was about a 1.60/hr more.

Mervyn's: a good example of private equity destroying a business. Read up on it.

Yes, I would be willing to pay more for products sourced in America.

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kevin 2 years, 6 months ago

Americans have not only become the "cheapest" people in the world, but also the ones that buy the cheapest "quality" goods. This includes junk, clothes, and the rotten fruit they buy at those Asian markets. Those fruit & vegetables last about 2-3 days and then become rotten. H MArt, Assisi, etc. They are all the same. You Americans are only ruining your stomachs and don't even know it. Most stuff in those "cheap" places is foreign, with horrible quality control, if any, and what they but to sell from the U.S. is almost rotten at the time of purchase. You all are too tight to buy quality products that are healthier and last longer.

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Sandykin 2 years, 6 months ago

True, but a lot of that is economically based. When you're family income has taken a drastic turn south, you have no choice but to look for the lowest prices on food and anything else that it's possible to obtain at a lower price.

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1911A1 2 years, 6 months ago

"What's a Walmart without an entire aisle of bikes, a whole section for furniture and half a wall devoted to televisions?" I don't know, but I bet it will still be full of inbreds.

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dadopee 2 years, 6 months ago

How nasty can people be! It is despicable that posts such as this are permitted. I guess its freedom of speech!

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