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Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market pops up in Huntington Beach

July 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wal-Mart is well-known for being a big superstore, but for some shoppers a typical Wal-Mart at over 180,000 square feet on average is just too big.

"Just to find the actual grocery section takes kind of forever," said shopper Matt Hocking. "You know, you gotta go through electronics, you gotta go through baby, you gotta go through all that stuff."

As a result, Wal-Mart is trying something completely new: A mini-Wal-Mart called a Neighborhood Market. At just 30,000 square feet, it's just one-fifth the size of a Wal-Mart Superstore. The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Huntington Beach on Beach Boulevard is the first of its kind in California.

"One of the things that's changed at Wal-Mart in recent years is we've become more flexible in our approach, so at the end of the day we want the store size to actually be a reflection of the neighborhood it's in," said Steven Restivo with Wal-Mart consumer affairs.

But other mini-Wal-Marts that have been built in urban areas across the country have created not only competition but also controversy with the local communities - an issue Wal-Mart believes is isolated.

"I feel like some of the louder voices in these debates don't necessarily represent the majority opinion," said Restivo.

Customers agree and seem to like the new concept.

"I've been looking forward to this since the construction started," said Dave Peters of Huntington Beach. "And now I went inside this morning and it's beautiful and it's awesome and I can walk right from my apartment, grab some fresh fruit and I'm a happy camper."

Wal-Mart is planning to open 11 more Neighborhood Markets in Southern California, including nine before the end of the year.


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