AUBURN GRESHAM — A new Wal-Mart in Auburn Gresham, which offers its shoppers fresh produce, a self-serve deli and organic choices, opened its doors Wednesday.
Company officials said more than 100 people were hired from the area for the new store.
“I love Walmart and it’s good to have more options,” Frankie Wilson, 68, said of the new 45,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 7535 S. Ashland Ave.
Open between 7 a.m. -10 p.m., the store will offer its shoppers fresh produce, meats, frozen foods, groceries and a pharmacy. There is also a self-serve deli, a bakery and organic/natural selections. Local Moo & Oink products will even be available.
Wilson, a retired AT&T worker, has lived in the community for 42 years and said she is happy to have a Wal-Mart closer to home. Living on the 7600 block of South Hoyne Ave., she will only have a 10-minute drive to get to the store. Right now, the closest Wal-Mart is at 83rd Street and Stewart Avenue — double her commute time.
Wilson said she loves baking, and Wal-Mart is known for having low prices on her favorite dairy items like milk and eggs.
Before the opening of Wal-Mart, those living in the area had the option of an Aldi store, which sits on the southeast corner of Ashland, and a Food 4 Less, on 71st Street and Ashland Avenue. There’s also a Jewel on 95th and Ashland.
Donald Williams, 41, a Hyde Park resident whose mother lives in Auburn Gresham, said the new Wal-Mart would be more convenient for him to buy his mother's food.
“This is closer, so it would make more sense to drive here,” Williams said.
Since the store doesn’t carry the same items as a super center, this location is set up to allow customers to order online and ship directly to the store for free pickup. It will also offer access to a Wal-Mart Money Center which offers a wide arrange of services like check-cashing, bill-paying, money orders and more.
Ken Gierich, the store manager, said that this Wal-Mart is designed to be a one-stop shop for customers who don’t want to travel out of the neighborhood.
“If they want to come in and do their shopping without having to walk around a 200,000-square-foot store, they’re able to here,” he said. “They can get in and out much faster.”
The store also hired from the community, he said — more than 100 associates.
“We want our stores to reflect the communities we’re in, so it’s important to us that we have people from the neighborhood in our stores,” Gierich said.
Scott Gendell, president of Terraco, Inc., the store’s developer, credits Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“We believe Wal-Mart will not only create great jobs on-site, but will also be a catalyst for further development in Auburn Gresham. We are proud to be part of helping to revitalize this neighborhood and bringing fresh food to this community,” Gendell said in a news release.
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