Walmart will open a supermarket on Elk Grove Boulevard after its plans to add groceries to a new store the company is building in Laguna Ridge were thwarted by .
The 39,000-square-foot 'Neighborhood Market' will fill the former Gottschalks building at 8455 Elk Grove Blvd., in the same shopping center as .
Walmart spokesperson Delia Garcia said the grocery store will create about 65 full- and part-time jobs and will open by the end of 2012. It will stock a full line of groceries including fresh produce, along with health and beauty products and prescription drugs, she said.
Walmart has already obtained building permits to renovate the now-vacant space, according to documents on file with the City of Elk Grove.
"The Neighborhood Market will complement [the current Walmart] by giving customers an option for fresh, affordable groceries in that same shopping center," Garcia said.
Garcia spoke by phone from Huntington Beach, where Walmart had just unveiled the first of 20 Neighborhood Markets the company is rolling out throughout California.
The markets, which are about one-fifth the size of a Walmart supercenter, could provide further competition for traditional supermarkets already feeling the sting from the non-union mega-retailer.
Two Elk Grove grocery stores in the vicinity of the new Walmart supermarket have closed since the beginning of 2012: the Bel Air at 8787 Elk Grove Blvd. and the Save Mart at 7707 Laguna Blvd. A spokesperson for Raley's, which owned the Bel Air, as one of the reasons for store closures.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents workers at many California grocery stores, has opposed the Neighborhood Markets.
"Walmart's new move into the traditional grocery store sector is a departure in tactics on their part and a direct threat to our members in the grocery industry," Ron Lind, President of UFCW Local 5, said in . "Thousands of good jobs and the livelihood of tens of thousands of our members are jeopardized by Walmart's plans."
Walmart is also , in the Laguna Ridge neighborhood. That store was originally slated to be a supercenter incorporating both general merchandise and a grocery store, what Garcia called the company's "growth model."
But after nearby residents sued to block the plan, Walmart changed course and .
Garcia said Walmart will open a hiring center in Elk Grove soon to staff the new Neighborhood Market. Job-seekers can also apply at careers.walmart.com.
What do you think of Walmart's plans to open a separate grocery store in Elk Grove? Will you shop there?