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Walmart Neighborhood Market Opening Wednesday in San Ramon

There are about 200 Walmart Neighborhood Markets in the country, but the store in San Ramon will be the company's first in the Bay Area.

Walmart is here.

After a summer of construction and hiring, the Walmart Neighborhood Market in South San Ramon is set to open on Wednesday, the Arkansas-based company announced in a press release Friday.

The Walmart grocery chain has moved into the 50,000 square-foot storefront in the Country Club Shopping Center off Alcosta, which has been empty since 2010. There are about 200 Walmart Neighborhood Markets in United States, but the San Ramon store will be the company's first in the Bay Area.

News of Walmart opening one of its grocery stores in San Ramon first came to light in February, when the city learned Walmart had started the bidding process for construction for the vacant storefront. Walmart didn't need city approval to build a Neighborhood Market because the storefront was already zoned for a grocery store.

The market will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will resemble other area grocery stores. It will offer fresh produce, a self-serve deli and bakery, a pharmacy and a full line of groceries.

“We are pleased to serve the City of San Ramon by being an involved partner, and offering a convenient, affordable, grocery store option for the community,” said store manager Baltazar Garcia. “This is truly going to be their Neighborhood Market, and it’s exciting.”

A Walmart grocery store coming to San Ramon didn't come without controversy.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union said they were strongly against the grocery chain coming to the Bay Area and there were small protests outside the store in the spring. Unlike grocery workers at other stores like Safeway and Lucky's, Walmart Neighborhood Market employees aren't unionized.

But others, including the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce, are welcoming Walmart to the city.

“We welcome Walmart to San Ramon and are pleased that the Neighborhood Market will occupy the vacant anchor space in the Country Club Village Center,” said Stewart Bambino, president of the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce. "We look forward to working closely with Walmart to enhance our community."

Walmart says the opening in San Ramon has created about 85 new jobs and they are still accepting applications here.

For its grand opening Wednesday, there is a planned ribbon-cutting event at 7:30 a.m. and family friendly entertainment events that will be free to the public throughout the day.

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David September 23, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Hi Renae, I think people are boycotting Walmart because of their pay and benefits compared to other grocery stores, such as Safeway. I would suspect the city of San Ramon has salaries and benefits more in line with other cities of comparable size and affluence. Now, I don't know the specifics on the numbers, but it's the feeling I'm getting. Walmart is such a large entity with huge pay and benefits at the Executive level and the argument is that they don't pass down the appropriate pay to the line level workers. The average cashier's salary at walmart as listed on various sites is about $7.50 to $10.40 an hour. I went to walmart's employment page and couldn't find their salaries listed, making it more difficult for people to compare and see what they are getting themselves into. Taking the high end of that wage, subtract 25% in taxes, and you're left with $1,352 a month. That's not taking into account medical and other costs that will certainly be deducted from that paycheck. The average rent in San Ramon in 1999 was $1,569 a month. The average household income was $115,000 a year and average home value $575,000. It's clear that a walmart employee making that salary is going to struggle to make ends meet in San Ramon. It's not a black and white issue, and I certainly can appreciate everyone's desire to pay less for necessities.
David September 23, 2012 at 05:53 PM
My wife and I can think of no place we'd rather avoid than a normal Walmart store. The customer service at every one we've ever been to is the worst of the worst. We are willing to pay more for just about anything than have to tolerate a walmart shopping experience. It may not be the same experience at a brand new San Ramon walmart grocery store, but I would bet over time, the service will not rise to the level of the local Safeways we frequent. We may eventually give a walmart grocery store a chance, but I'm inclined to stay where we are treated well, prices are fair, and employees are treated appropriately.
Matt Rempel September 27, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I'm not a fan of Walmart, nor the unions. Truthfully, Costco is the best company out there to support: good to its employees (I worked there so I know) and non-union. Will be interesting to see if this Neighborhood Grocery things works out, seems to have a nice support base already.
Pleasanton Mom September 27, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I'm now going to shop at walmart market every single week just because Summer says not to. @ Summer, For the record, a mass majority of wal-mart employees are NOT on welfare or collect food stamps and I'm positive you are the last person they want speaking for them. In fact if you poll wal-mart checkers, they are often p*ssed off by the abuse of many welfare recipients because they are on the front lines and see the abuse first hand. You pull facts out of your a** and expect others to take you seriously. Even your own kind know you aren't playing with a full deck.
Pleasanton Mom September 27, 2012 at 05:23 AM
I went to the wal-mart market a few days after it closed and really wanted to love it, but I was underwhelmed. The service was AWFUL. And I mean AWFUL. It took the cashier almost 15 minutes to ring us up. I had about $150 in groceries so I knew it wasn't a "self check" situation, but she was painfully slow. I felt really bad for her because it was clear she wasn't properly trained and this probably wasn't the best fit for her. She was super nice, just slow as a snail. I bought four of one item for $2.50 each and she charged me for six of the items so the few dollars I saved by shopping there ended up staying there. I tried to point it out, but she wasn't getting it so I just decided to forget about it. The other thing is that many of their produce items were very pricey. I bought two heads of broccoli and they were almost $5. The vacant store in Pleasanton is much smaller than this location so I'm wondering how the store is going to work out. Not super hopeful that it can be my regular grocery store. Bummer. Oh, but I will go there just because summer says not to.

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