chinatown, downtown los angeles
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New Walmart Neighborhood Market Opens 34,000 SF Store in Chinatown, Downtown LA

A new Walmart Neighborhood Market opened this past Friday in Downtown LA's Chinatown

A new Walmart Neighborhood Market opened this past Friday in Downtown LA’s Chinatown

DTLA Rising first leaked the rumors almost two years ago that Walmart was coming to Chinatown. Soon afterward, we learned that it would be a Walmart Neighborhood Market taking over a never-occupied 34,000 square foot space (about 1/5 the size of a typical Walmart Supercenter) in a senior housing mixed-use complex at Cesar Chavez and Grand Ave. Not surprisingly, what subsequently ensued was a lot of protests and political handwringing that delayed the opening of Walmart’s grocery concept by many months. However, this past Friday, Walmart Neighborbood Market opened its doors for business on the fringe of Chinatown. The dust is far from completely settled, but when all is said and done, Chinatown now has a bona fide grocery store — whether you like Walmart or not.

I stopped by on Friday evening just after rush hour around 7pm. The Senior Manager of Communication Affairs at Walmart, Rachel Wall, gave me a tour of the market and the products and merchandise they offer. If you’re not familiar with the Walmart Neighborhood Market concept, it’s basically like a market and a drug store combined into one. You have your produce, packaged frozen foods, dairy products, pet and baby supplies, etc. as well as skin care, cosmetics, pharmacy, etc.

While Wall gave me a tour of the market, I saw a continuous stream of customers filing into the store (what seemed to be mostly the residents of Chinatown based on the demographics I saw).

“We had over 700 customers from 8 am to noon without really advertising to the community,” Wall told me. “Our parking lot was surprisingly half empty as well, which means about half of them coming in our store [about 350] were on foot.”

In addition to the market concept, the store is also a “Site to Store” pick up spot, which means that you can order anything off Walmart.com, get free shipping, and then pick it up at the store. You can either pay online or in store as well.

Walmart Neighborhood Market offers one hour free parking with validation and is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm. The pharmacy is open Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 9 pm, Saturday 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.

Rachel Wall, the Sr Manager of Communication Affairs for Walmart, holds this directory of the new store in Chinatown

Rachel Wall, the Sr Manager of Communication Affairs for Walmart, holds this directory of the new store in Chinatown

The new store carries most standard grocery items you’d expect for a full-sized market

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables

A large section of skin care and cosmetics similar to the selection you would find at a drug store is available

A large section of skin care and cosmetics similar to the selection you would find at a drug store is available

A seasonal section now offering Halloween items

A seasonal section now offering Halloween items

As a "Site to Store" pick up location, customers can order anything off Walmart.com and pick up the item(s) eliminating shipping charges

As a “Site to Store” pick up location, customers can order anything off Walmart.com and pick up the item(s), eliminating shipping charges

No plastic bags are offered and paper bags are offered gratis until Jan 2015

No plastic bags but paper bags are offered gratis until Jan 2015

Customers waiting to purchase at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chinatown

Customers waiting to purchase at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chinatown

7 Comments

  1. Andrew W. says

    Love it or hate it, this Walmart Neighborhood Market is making a dent in this part of Chinatown, which has been devoid of a grocery market for so long.

    The day I went (Saturday evening right before the showing of the ET movie at Grand Park), this place was packed with a surprisingly diverse crowd/demographic (hipsters from Echo Park/Silver Lake, Chinatown senior citizens, Orsini apartment residents, USC students, LA Dodgers fans, and even a tour group of European tourists wearing “I Love Malta” shirts were present and shopping there).

    Personally, I thought I store was pretty clean and reminded me of a Fresh and Easy, but with slightly more variety in their offerings. It was also great seeing the Asian seniors smiling and picking out fresh fruit over by the produce section.

  2. Lawrence says

    @Andrew – completely agree with you. Whether you like Walmart or not, this store seems to be filling a need in the neighborhood based on the response it has received from customers. The crowd shopping there was definitely diverse and reflective of the surrounding neighborhoods. In the end, this space was designed to be a grocery store and no other chain opted to take it. I would rather see it activated as intended than sit empty.

  3. Put me in the anti-walmart camp, but you can’t deny the effect it has had on that block with all those other eateries coming in. It looks like a different street almost. Too bad about Palmer’s Fauxtalian fortresses though…

  4. Truthurts says

    Did you know Walmart employees still qualify for welfare due to forced part time hours and lack of living wage?

    • John G. says

      “forced part time hours”? Seriously, you think they are being “forced”?

      Wal-Mart at THIS LOCATION will be paying their employees more than minimum wage. No one is forcing anybody to work anywhere. It is up to that person to choose the job that interests him/her and qualified for based on education, skills, and experiences. You also need to stop acting as if equality trumps individual choice, responsibility, and diversity.

      Please, no need to act like somebody needs to owe something to somebody else…

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