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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- In what could prove to be a template for how it would seek to conquer the Big Apple and other major urban centers, Wal-Mart here opened a 179,731-square-foot discount store today in downtown White Plains, N.Y., which the company says contains "unique design elements and a product mix for its urban customer," as well as the mass merchant's most extensive selection of grocery products outside of a Supercenter.
The store is located on two floors of a remodeled nine-story building in White Plains, a mid-sized urban center in the northern New York City suburb of Westchester County; The Bronx is only about 10 miles to the south.
"This store represents an excellent example of how well the Wal-Mart concept can fit into an urban setting," said Steve Michael, director of design for Wal-Mart's North-Central Division, who led the design team on the project, in a statement. "The store's contemporary design captures White Plains' downtown revitalization efforts and offers a product mix and layout to meet this local community's needs, while providing for a truly unique Wal-Mart shopping experience."
That "unique" experience offers 16 aisles' worth of grocery that includes frozen foods, dairy, other refrigerated foods and a tidy fresh produce department; as well as organic offerings that extend to baby formula and baby food. There's also a supermarket-worthy pet supply section.
The urbanized format, to be staffed by about 400 employees, also features a specially designed shopping cart escalator between its two levels, and an automated shopping cart elevator that will deliver carts from the parking lot back to the store. Among the other design features of the store are wider aisles, wood floors, and new signage.
Shoppers can either enter the store directly off the street or via elevators from the six levels of parking in the building's rooftop garage.
Among the new general merchandise products carried by the store are George and Metro 7 clothing lines and a line of Wal-Mart's exclusive SELECT series of GE small appliances available as part of a wide selection of home decor and home organization merchandise.
The location features a total of 36 general merchandise departments, including apparel, health and beauty aids, household needs, toys, fabrics and crafts, lawn and garden supplies, jewelry, and shoes.
There's a vision center, a one-hour photo lab, a pharmacy, and a Wal-Mart Connect Center for wireless phones. Service businesses on site include a large Dunkin' Donuts restaurant and a Regal Nail Salon.
Wal-Mart operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The company also has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.