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Chicago’s second Walmart supercenter opened Wednesday in the Chatham Market shopping center, bringing new jobs and more affordable grocery options to the city’s South Side and marking the end of an 8-year effort to bring economic development to the area.
The retailer now operates five locations across the city. “All across the country, our customers are at the center of everything we do,” said Labeed Diab, senior VP of Walmart U.S. “Here in Chicago, we’re working hard to make a difference and remain committed to delivering fresh, healthy food choices to those who need them most. As we open new stores in the city, we will continue to be an advocate for our customers by finding solutions that save them money on their groceries and other products their families need.”
At a grand opening event at 8331 S. Stewart Ave., Walmart executives were joined by city officials and community stakeholders to celebrate the store’s 350 jobs and the community’s newest option for fresh food and other products local families need.
“This Wal-Mart is a win-win-win – a win for the local economy, a win for local job creation and a win for the Chicagoans who now have access to a full selection of groceries and fresh food in Chatham,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I am committed to driving economic growth and opportunity in our neighborhoods, and will continue to seek opportunities for Chicagoans to find good jobs and advance their communities.”
The 157,000-square-foot store features a full line of groceries as well as a bakery, deli, frozen food section and meat, dairy and fresh produce sections. General merchandise areas include pharmacy, apparel and accessories, sporting goods, electronics, home, lawn and garden, fine jewelry, and health and beauty.
According to store manager Keith Richards, who started his Walmart career 11 years ago as an hourly associate and most recently managed the store in south suburban Country Club Hills, san emphasis was placed on local hiring. More than three-quarters of the store associates live on Chicago’s South Side.
Construction of the store, which created about 300 jobs, was managed via a joint venture between Powers & Sons and UJAMAA Construction, both African-American general contractors.
The retailer operates stores in the West Loop, Wrigleyville and Austin neighborhoods of Chicago.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates more than 9,600 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries.