Walmart 'neighborhood market' opening in Bellevue

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 27 at 6:01 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. - It's less than a third of the size of the usual Walmart box stores. Today construction workers were busy working on the new Walmart Neighborhood Market in the Bellevue's Kelsey Creek shopping center.

Unlike the bigger stores, the neighborhood market sells groceries only. No clothing or electronics.

Walmart is taking over the old Kmart site that has been vacant for several years. Neighboring businesses say they are optimistic about their new neighbor, hoping it will bring in more foot traffic to Kelsey Creek than it's seen in recent years.

Even developer Brian Franklin, Vice President of PMF Investments, admits the shopping center was known as "the Black Hole," for its huge and empty parking lot. He said that more people used the parking lot to teach others how to drive than they did to park and shop at the small businesses in the last decade.

Also unlike other Puget Sound locations like Monroe and Tacoma, this Walmart was met with far less opposition, perhaps because of its smaller size and that it's moving into an existing location that was vacant for years. 

On Tuesday, new businesses were moving in.

Jesse DeGroff is the franchisee of the new Little Caesars opening up in the same strip mall. He's excited about the prospects. 

Maria Prokopchuk owns the International Deli. In 13 years she has seen Kmart close and the shopping center become a ghost town. Now it is bustling again.

But when asked what she thought about the retailer, she said "I've never been in a Walmart."  

The Walmart Neighborhood Market opens at the end of June. The company is accepting applications at www.walmartwashington.com.

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