MARIETTA — Hiring will begin soon for 90 associates at Cobb’s first Walmart Neighborhood Market under construction in 41,000 square feet in the former Food Depot site at the corner of Powder Springs Road and Bellemeade Drive. According to company officials, the opening date is planned for late January 2013. According to Bill Wertz, divisional director east of community and media relations for Walmart, the company will soon set up a satellite hiring center at a nearby Walmart. He said applications are being accepted online in the interim.
“People can apply now and indicate the location where they would like to work,” he said. Wertz says the Neighborhood Market’s focus is groceries and fresh produce, meat, deli, health and beauty and pharmacy. He says the store might have limited apparel items but no hardware or home décor departments. “We have been trying to make access to Walmart more convenient for customers,” he said. “We also try to make each store reflect the preferences of the customers in the area.”
He also confirmed that construction on two additional Neighborhood Markets in Cobb is under way. Demolition began recently in the Blackwell Commons shopping center at the corner of Blackwell Road and Canton Road, where the 40,000-square-foot store will open next summer. Wertz says that in some locations, such as the space that was formerly occupied by America’s Thrift Store, they have to demolish and start over.
According to Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, while Walmart received the go-ahead from the planning commission last year, the company had to wait for the thrift store’s lease to expire before they could take over the space. America’s Thrift Store recently reopened across Canton Road in the former K&G Warehouse space next to Old Time Pottery.
Birrell, who represents that area, is excited about the potential for growth Walmart could spark in that area.
“Once the Walmart opens, it will attract other businesses to want to come and help the revitalization of Canton Road,” Birrell said.
Located at the intersection of Roswell Road and Old Canton Road in the Old Mill Shopping Center, the third location to open will be the largest at 48,000 square feet. According to Wertz, they are still in the permitting process, and the market is likely open late in 2013. Walmart is leasing the space of the current Just Fitness 4U location. According to Birrell, the fitness center will be relocating next door into a vacant space.
In all three locations, Walmart is leasing the space. Wertz says because of the abundance of buildings in the 40,000-square-foot size range, retrofits are often done for the Neighborhood Markets instead of new construction.
Wertz said that while Walmart supercenters remain the company’s “flagship operation,” the company is likely to open additional Neighborhood Markets in Cobb.
“Our customers are telling us they like the convenience and being able to get in and out quickly at Walmart prices,” he said. “We are becoming a more flexible company with larger and smaller formats.” A typical Walmart supercenter is 185,000 square feet and employs 225 associates. Walmart opened its first Neighborhood Market store in Georgia in June in Lawrenceville.