Marquette Warrior: Wal-Mart Opens First Inside-the-Beltway Store

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wal-Mart Opens First Inside-the-Beltway Store

From the Washington Times:
Wal-Mart comes inside Beltway
By Jen Haberkorn
March 23, 2007

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opened its first store inside the Capital Beltway yesterday.

The Landover Hills store, the closest to the District, is the chain’s latest store in an urban setting. Nationwide, Wal-Mart is focusing on urban locations such as the District, Chicago and Atlanta for new customers as it saturates rural and suburban areas.

The merchandise in these locations has changed, too. In the Landover Hills store, space for suburban youth sports gear and pet products has been cut down and replaced with electronics, ethnic hair products and baby goods, Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said while on a tour of the new store.

“The majority of the merchandise is the same, but some specific items were dialed in for the local community,” he said, adding that the changes in the product line reflect research into the community’s needs.

The store will have an expansive selection of Hispanic groceries -- such as Goya beans and rice -- and a broader collection of Latin, gospel and R&B music. The store also carries Wal-Mart’s urban clothing line, Exsto, in addition to its Metro 7 and George private clothing lines.

The 144,000-square-foot store isn’t a Supercenter, so it doesn’t have specialty food departments, but the food section is four aisles larger than the typical Wal-Mart.

The store will have 330 employees, and it received more than 11,000 applications, Mr. Restivo said. He said he didn’t have information on how many employees are from Prince George’s County.
In spite of the hype, this isn’t a huge deal, except symbolically. Liberals in Washington and the trendy districts of Maryland may feel a bit more alienated and threatened with a Wal-Mart store close at hand.

In fact, the area is pretty average. The town of Landover Hills, like Prince George’s Country generally, is heavily black but in terms of income and crime statistics looks much like a white suburb. (Perhaps not Fox Point or Wauwautosa, but more like South Milwaukee or West Allis.)

Interesting Point for Marquette People: the story was written by Jen Haberkorn, former editor of the Marquette Tribune.

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