Forget the greeters, the door-busters, and the bulk shopping.
Retail Giant Walmart Friday became the latest major retailer to test the concept of smaller, neighborhood-oriented markets in California.
Better known for its super-centers, Walmart opened its first Neighborhood Market in California Friday in Huntington Beach. The company plans to open its second Neighborhood Market in Rancho Santa Margarita in roughly two weeks with additional openings scattered throughout the county.
The Neighborhood Market is essentially a grocery store with a pharmacy. Huntington Beach's Beach Boulevard location is roughly 31,000 square-feet, standard for the Neighborhood Market concept and roughly one-fifth the size of a Walmart Super Center.
The Chain follows in the footsteps of the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Target, both of which aggressively expanded their grocery offerings in Orange County this year.
“This is an opportunity to bring the brand to our customers in a more convenient fashion,” said Rachel Wall, Walmart spokeswoman.
The Neighborhood Market concept first began in the Midwest in 1998, and there are roughly 200 stores nationwide. However, this is the concept’s first foray into California.
With this newest concept, the chain takes pains to fit into existing neighborhoods, occupying vacant storefronts such as the former RiteAid that sat vacant for two years in Huntington Beach. Similarly, the company appeals to residents with offerings of local produce such as strawberries grown in Orange as well boogie boards and tabletop grills for the nearby beach.
“The Huntington Beach Neighborhood Market will help re-energize a shopping center deflated by years-long vacancies and bring increased visibility to surrounding businesses. This neighborhood-oriented store will bring added convenience for area residents and beach-going tourists,” said Huntington Beach Mayor Don Hansen.
As the latest local competitor, Walmart’s Neighborhood Market adds pressure to traditional grocery stores that have already suffered under incursion from of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market and Target. Earlier this year, throughout the region.
But Walmart executives believe the traditional grocery store model appeals to customers looking for affordability, speed and convenience for every-day items. The Neighborhood Market’s customers shop two to three times per week, said a company spokeswoman.
The company hopes to appeal to consumers’ pocketbooks, claiming the lowest prices around.
You be the judge:
A random sampling of staples offered at the new Huntington Beach store:
- One dozen eggs: $1.68 or $4.21 for cage-free
- Tropicana Orange Juice: $3.48
- Family Size Doritos: $3.68
- Boneless rib eye steak: $3.88 per pound
- Lysol Kitchen Cleaner: $1.97
- One large can of Pedigree dog food: 75 cents
- One large box of Puffs plus with lotion: $2.12
- A 100 oz bottle of Tide detergent: $11.97
- 100 tablets of Regular Strength Tylenol: $6.72
- 2 rolls of Walmart’s Great Value brand paper towels: $2.97