Walmart grocery stores

Walmart Stores Inc. plans to open two Neighborhood Markets in Orangeburg. Orangeburg’s Planning Commission rejected placing one on Columbia Road behind Palmetto Place Apartments, but Orangeburg City Council also has to consider the issue.

The world’s largest retailer is planning to build two new grocery stores in Orangeburg, but at least one of the locations remains in question due to zoning concerns.

Walmart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday it is planning to construct Walmart Neighborhood Markets near the corner of U.S. 301 and Stonewall Jackson Boulevard and on a parcel of land between Columbia Road and Boulevard Street.

“We are interested in serving the community and bringing customers convenient, affordable shopping options, and we’re hopeful that the project can move forward,” Walmart spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

“We will determine next steps once the process is completed,” she said.

Neighborhood Markets offer produce, meat and dairy products, bakery and deli items, household supplies, health and beauty aids and a pharmacy. The freestanding, 41,000-square-foot grocery stores are about a quarter of the size of the typical Walmart Supercenter.

The Orangeburg City Planning Commission last week unanimously rejected Walmart’s request to rezone the 7-1/2 acre Columbia Road and Boulevard Street tract from A-2 multi-unit residential district to B1, General Business, after hearing from residential concerns, according to Commissioner Don Tribble.

The property is located behind the Palmetto Place Apartments. It is owned by Wachovia National Bank.

The planning commission’s recommendation will now be brought to Orangeburg City Council, which will give three public readings and hold a public hearing on the rezoning request.

Henneberg said, “a lot of factors go into choosing a location for the store, but it is about meeting the needs of our customers.

“We can offer customers a great selection of merchandise.”

Henneberg said there was no set date as to when the stores would open or an exact address.

“Once you have all the permits in place and once construction begins, it takes about year to a year and half to construct a store,” Henneberg said.

Each store will employ about 95, she said.

There are currently about 340 neighborhood markets nationally.

This will be the first Walmart Neighborhood Market to open in The T&D Region. Greenville and Greer have the only two other Walmart Neighborhood Markets in the state.

In addition to grocery items, the store gives customers access to items online through Site to Store service, which makes all of the merchandise of Walmart.com available for purchase and delivery.

The store also offers a Pay With Cash option online which allows customers to pay for those items with cash once they arrive at the store.

In February of this year, Walmart announced it plans to open 270 to 300 small stores by the end of this year, doubling its initial forecast of 120 to 150 new stores.

The smaller stores saw a 4 percent increase in sales in 2014 while Walmart’s overall sales were down.

Walmart currently operates 346 Neighborhood Markets and 20 Walmart Express stores, which are 15,000-square foot convenience stores launched recently to compete with dollar stores.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets is a subsidiary of Walmart Stores Inc. Walmart launched the stores in 1998.

n Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

Contact the writer: 803-533-5551

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Business Reporter

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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