A nearly 20 year effort to bring a full-service grocery store to Downtown Los Angeles was realized this week with the opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chinatown.
The Downtown Los Angeles’ Walmart Neighborhood Market is located on the ground floor of the Grand Plaza and will serve residents in Downtown, Bunker Hill, Echo Park and Chinatown communities. The opening of the store marks the seventh neighborhood store to be opened in the city of Los Angeles and the second full-service grocery to be opened this year. This is Walmart’s first downtown location.
Walmart will kick off a community celebration this week that will feature various community leaders and retail-entertainment activities marking the store’s opening.
Chinatown Business Improvement District President George Yu said nearby businesses will benefit from increased foot traffic brought on by the new business.
“The Chinatown community has waited more than 20 years for a full service grocery store to open at Grand Plaza. The Walmart Neighborhood Market will continue Chinatown’s revitalization and offer Chinatown and Downtown residents a much-needed grocery store with fresh produce in our community,” said Yu.
The 34,000 square-foot Neighborhood Market is about one-fifth of the size of a typical Walmart Supercenter but will still feature fresh produce and a full-service pharmacy with a separate entrance for convenience. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week.
The downtown Walmart Neighborhood Market is located in a mixed-use building that had the grocery component vacant for over 20 years.
“Since Walmart announced its plans to open a Neighborhood Market in the Grand Plaza building, we have acquired three new leases for the lunch and dinner spaces next to Walmart,” Grand Plaza Commercial Management David Mi said “We are excited about the store opening and making the Grand Plaza building a catalyst for more business growth in the community.”
The latest location will offer California-grown produce, a full line of groceries, including frozen foods, meat and dairy products; some gluten-free items; self-serve deli meats, cheeses, prepared foods and a self-serve bakery, including fresh bread baked daily and a cake case.
Shoppers will have the option of reusable or paper bags for their groceries, anticipating the ban on plastic bags in the city of Los Angeles, which goes into effect January 1, 2014.
The downtown location store will also be the first Walmart store in the nation to feature Homeboy Industries products including Tortilla Strips and Salsa.
“This store has been a long time coming and the surrounding community has really welcomed us to the neighborhood,” said store manager Kenney Tran. “More than 8,000 people applied to work in my store and local residents have been coming by for weeks eagerly anticipating the opening of their Walmart Neighborhood Market.”
The new location provided new jobs to 65 people. Walmart opened the first Neighborhood Market in 1998; it now operates nearly 250 Neighborhood Market stores across the country.