Bell Gardens Walmart Store Comes with Jobs, Sales Taxes
By Nancy Martinez, EGP Staff Writer
The latest Walmart Neighborhood Market will open its doors in Bell Gardens next week, offering local residents and neighboring southeast cities a quick and convenient place to shop for groceries and pharmaceuticals.
The grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 a.m. in the Los Jardines Shopping Center on 6820 Eastern Ave. in Bell Gardens. It will feature product samplings and giveaways.
The store will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. According to a Walmart press release, the store will feature a self-serve deli and bakery, a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, a full line of groceries, including gluten-free, organic items and a large selection of Hispanic items.
Read this story IN SPANISH: Nuevo Supermercado de Walmart Esta Por Abrir en Bell Gardens
Bell Gardens’ City Manager Phil Wagner told EGP the location is good for residents and the businesses surrounding the new market.
“It’s an important addition to our community, specifically to the downtown shopping area,” Wagner said. “Not only will residents in our community shop there, I hope it will attract residents from other cities to shop in Bell Gardens,” he said.
The store will be freeway-convenient, right off the 710 Freeway, at the intersection of Eastern and Florence Avenues. The store will also serve the neighboring communities of Bell, South Gate and Huntington Park.
Walmart has hired approximately 65 full-time and part-time employees to work at the 31,000 square-foot store, according to the retailer. As part of the grand opening celebration, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will present $8,000 in grants to local community groups focusing on education and hunger relief in the Bell Gardens area, the company said in a written statement.
“Walmart made a great effort to hire residents from the area,” Wagner noted. “[Walmart] wants to be an active participant in the community and we’re really encouraged by that,”
Although other Walmart Neighborhood Market openings have created controversy and protest in the past, the city of Bell Gardens welcomed the store and according to Wagner, the city has not received negative comments from its residents regarding the new retailer.
Bell Gardens, like many other cities has seen a decline in sales and tax revenue. Money from the city’s largest revenue generator, the Bicycle Casino, has declined significantly in recent years.
“We welcome Walmart Neighborhood Market to Bell Gardens. In addition to providing a new and convenient place to shop, Walmart will provide additional sales tax revenue to our community and about 100 new jobs, both desperately needed in this sluggish economy,” Wagner told EGP.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets are smaller than typical Walmart stores. According to a company press release, only 200 of the stores exist across the country. The Bell Gardens Neighborhood Market is the second Walmart Neighborhood to open in Los Angeles County, following one that opened last month in Panorama City, another heavily Latino community located in the San Fernando Valley.
October 11, 2012 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.