Walmart Express to open on Ninth Street

Monday, January 6, 2014 | 5:36 p.m. CST; updated 9:59 a.m. CST, Friday, January 10, 2014
Walmart Express, located on Ninth Street, will open Wednesday. The store will cater to students and offer food items, school supplies and a pharmacy.

COLUMBIA — A Walmart Express will open at 308 S. Ninth St. on Wednesday and will bring a full pharmacy, some fresh produce, school supplies, beer and wine to the northeast edge of MU's campus.

"It's just like a mini Walmart," said Farai Madzura, store manager of the Walmart Express. The compact store will feature items geared toward students, such as single-serving food items, a frozen food section and a dairy section with milk and eggs, and some fruit — like apples, bananas and oranges.

The store's opening means students who live in apartment complexes close to the edge of campus along Ninth Street will have somewhere to go for essentials.

"My roommate doesn't have a car, so I usually take her to the store when I go," Devon Vincent, a resident of The Lofts at 308 Ninth St., said. "We have very different schedules, so if I can't take her to the store, now she doesn't have to depend on me."

The 3,700-square-foot store will have about 12 employees, several self-checkouts and one manned checkout, Madzura said.

Carrie Gartner, executive director of The District, said that with more people living downtown, the need for stores that offer groceries has increased.

"What's great is that instead of forcing us to form to their model, they're changing to fit with us," Gartner said. The new store will occupy an existing retail space and will not require a big parking lot like its larger stores, she noted.

The new store is modeled after three other Walmart mini stores — called Walmart on Campus — located on campuses in the U.S.: at Arizona State University, the University of Arkansas, and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Because the Columbia store is not technically on campus, it will sell beer and wine, unlike Walmart's other campus stores.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the store will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce will hold its own ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The store's hours are 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

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