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Published by The Gazette | January 14 2013 | Written by Rich Laden
Wal-Mart’s second Neighborhood Market in Colorado Springs opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday on South Academy Boulevard, giving a boost to a corridor that city officials have identified as a troubled area.
The nearly 41,000-square-foot store was constructed near South Academy and Chelton Road, on the city’s south side. It will employ about 90 full- and part-time workers and be open 24 hours a day, according to a news release.
Wal-Mart’s Neighborhood Markets are essentially grocery stores that feature full lines of frozen foods, meat and dairy products, fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, health and beauty products, pharmacy items, paper goods and pet products, among other items.
The stores don’t carry clothing, electronics or other items found in the retailer’s much larger Supercenters.
Wal-Mart officials previously have said that Neighborhood Markets are intended to provide convenience for customers who might need a gallon of milk or other items, but don’t want to travel to a Supercenter. Neighborhood Markets were launched in 1998; with the opening of the South Academy location, there now are nearly 200 nationwide.
The first Neighborhood Market in the Springs opened in August, at the site of a vacant King Soopers store northeast of Platte Avenue and Murray Boulevard.
Another Neighborhood Market is being built at Union Boulevard and Lelaray Drive in the center of town. Wal-Mart officials also have said they plan to remodel a former Albertsons near Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway into a Neighborhood Market.
Wal-Mart officials couldn’t be reached Monday about a timetable for completion of their next two stores or whether additional locations are planned.
Having a Neighborhood Market on South Academy is significant for the corridor, said Bob Cope, principal analyst with the city’s Economic Vitality Division, who will attend a ribbon-cutting for the store at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Central and southern sections of Academy have seen major retail losses over the last several years, as stores have closed because of economic reasons or to relocate to fast-growing Powers Boulevard. Mayor Steve Bach has identified the southeast side as one of three economic priority zones, Cope said.
“The revitalization of that area is going to be a major undertaking,” Cope said. “This is the exact type of step (the Neighborhood Market) that we’re going to have to have many more of to complete it.”
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