Walmart to open grocery store in Gateway 'food desert'

Walmart to open grocery store in Gateway 'food desert'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Walmart plans to open a grocery store in a vacant retail space in the heart of one of Lane County's "food deserts."

The Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for the former Circuit City building at 2730 Gateway Street will employ 65 people and offer groceries, pharmaceuticals and general merchandise, the company said Monday.                        

The average wage at Walmart for full-time hourly associates in Oregon is approximately $13.04 per hour, the company said.                 
"We think the new Springfield Neighborhood Market can be part of the solution for folks who want a job or need more affordable options close to home," said Matti Havener, Walmart regional general manager for Oregon and Washington. "We look forward to being a good community partner and neighbor here for years to come."  

The store will fill a need for groceries in the Gateway neighborhood, considered a "food desert" because of the distance residents must travel to shop for food.

Walmart opened its first Neighborhood Market store in 1998 and currently operates over 225 Neighborhood Markets across the country

The stores typically range in size from 30,000 to 42,000 square-feet. The Gateway store will be 39,000 square feet.
Walmart said the new store will be tailored for the Springfield community, featuring Oregon produce and foods and a large wine selection. The company said buying local commodities benefits local farmers and the environment by reducing the distance food travels from "farm to fork."
The store will feature a self-serve deli, a self-serve bakery, including a cake case, a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, cheeses and prepared foods.

In addition to the fresh, locally grown produce and bakery items, the store will carry a full line of groceries, including frozen foods, meat and dairy products, gluten-free and organic items.