Walmart on Campus to open at the Lofts near MU

Monday, July 15, 2013 | 6:09 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Of the 10 retail businesses opening at the new Lofts downtown building next to Chipotle on Ninth Street, Walmart will be one of them. 

Walmart on Campus is a small-scale version of the regular stores with merchandise limited to basic groceries, convenience items and health and beauty aids. 

Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokeswoman, said the store will open in the first quarter of 2014.

Walmart on Campus stores range from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet, about one-third the size of a Walmart Express. Hatfield said there are three Walmart on Campus locations in the country thus far — on or near the campuses of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.; Arizona State University in Phoenix; and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. 

Other businesses opening at the Lofts are International Tap House, Thai Express, Subway, Varsity Nails, Blenders, Fazoli's, Service Noodle, THM Investments and Certified Realty Inc., and Tigers Credit Union, which is open for business now, said Travis McGee, owner of the Lofts. 

The other businesses will open between "late August and early September," McGee said. 

"We want residents to be able to live, work and go to school downtown without having a vehicle as a specific need," he said. 

In addition to Tigers Credit Union, Varsity Nails and Blenders are the only local businesses that will be housed at the Lofts.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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Kevin Gamble July 16, 2013 | 9:48 a.m.

This is disappointing news. The Walmart will draw business away from a variety of already-established and smaller-scale businesses in the area. I thought that part of the justification for these large-scale private dorms is that they would generate a lot of business for existing downtown businesses. I'm glad that this development, unlike most of the others, includes retail space, but bringing in a major corporate entity that will absorb several types of business sounds beneficial to Walmart only. Hope this isn't the case, but downtown could really use the help.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 16, 2013 | 11:05 a.m.

Kevin Gamble wrote:

"The Walmart will draw business away from a variety of already-established and smaller-scale businesses in the area."

I'm not sure about that. I'd think it would mostly displace students hopping in their cars to shop at either one of the big Walmarts or a supermarket. Most downtown businesses are restaurants, bars, and specialty shops that wouldn't be competing with Walmart anyway. This actually might get a few cars off the road.


(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders July 16, 2013 | 1:06 p.m.

Well, I'd guess that the only business it will compete with directly is Walgreen's (or the soon to be welfare queen d.b.a. as "Lucky's Farmer's Market").

In other news, community activists/organizers are devastated as WalMart will eliminate their precious "food desert" designation downtown. Starving students will no longer require the support of the ever-enlightened in their conquest of cheap, processed garbage food.

(Report Comment)

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