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.