La Mesa's latest grocery store, the new Walmart Neighborhood Market, opened to the public on Wednesday, in an early morning ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located at 8820 Grossmont Blvd., and housed in the former Circuit City building, the store will provide La Mesa residents another option to shop for groceries fresh produce.
“The new Walmart Neighborhood Market will be another valued member of our business community, and many of our residents are looking forward to its opening and the employment opportunities it brings to La Mesa,” said La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid. “Walmart has been a good corporate citizen to many of our civic and nonprofit organizations, and I'm confident that this new store will continue to be a good community partner.”
The store will provide full- and part-time jobs to roughly 65 people, many of whom are La Mesans. The store's manager, Todd Raley, is an east county native and Santee resident.
He has been with the company since 1994, and worked his way up into a managerial position in the new store.
"I've been with the company for 18 years now, starting as a temporary associate," said Raley. "I really appreciate Walmart – they recognize merit and how hard you work, which is awesome, and it's an honor to help open up the first Neighborhood Market in San Diego."
The Neighborhood Market format has been a part of the Walmart brand since about 1998, according to spokesperson Delia Garcia.
"We're excited to open the first store here. You'll see that it's about a quarter to a third of the size of a traditional SuperCenter, and it's really designed for convenient grocery shopping," said Garcia.
The 39,000-square-foot La Mesa store features a self-serve deli with pre-packaged foods, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, cheeses and prepared foods. In addition to fresh produce, the store carries a full line of groceries, including frozen foods, meat and dairy products, gluten-free and organic items. Customers can also find cakes and pastries in the bakery section. The La Mesa Walmart Neighborhood Market will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
In addition, the store features a pharmacy, customer service and check cashing center, and paper goods, pet products, hardware items and a Celebration Station, where customers can buy gift wrap and gift bags, greeting cards and party supplies.
Many local community groups are also benefiting from the store's opening. As part of the grand-opening celebration, $4,000 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will be presented to the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, Boys to Men Mentoring Network, Catholic Charities and College Preparatory Middle School.
In addition, a $15,000 grant will be presented to SAY San Diego. Funds will be available throughout the year for local organizations that serve the community. Interested groups can visit foundation.walmart.com for more information
With the corporate giant opening its doors next to another La Mesa grocery store, Ralphs, many wonder if there would be pushback from the community. But Raley, a graduate of Granite Hills High school in El Cajon and San Diego State University, said he and his team can only provide the best quality they can to customers.
"We're focused on just providing the everyday low price to the customers," he said.