Weekend of fanfare will greet new store

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jose Fasado, a produce associate at the Sexton Mountain Walmart Neighborhood Market, arranges apples before the store's grand opening on Friday.The two Neighborhood Market stores that recently opened in Beaverton reflect Walmart’s relatively new concept of a straightforward supermarket as it was understood before home accessory sections, garden centers and sit-down bistros became mainstays of the modern grocery experience.

While it offers far less than the retail behemoth’s popular and controversial Supercenter stores, the newest Neighborhood Market — located in the former Haggen Food and Pharmacy building at 9055 S.W. Murray Blvd. — goes beyond the simplicity of its other local stores.

In addition to groceries, a deli counter, bakery and pharmacy, the store’s larger footprint accommodates an extensive section featuring microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, DVD players, heaters, fans, hardware and other items outside the bread, butter and butcher TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The Walmart Neighborhood Market on Murray Boulevard will open its doors on Friday.

“This store’s a little bigger than the others, so we offer more,” said J.D. Fleming, manager of the Sexton Mountain-area Neighborhood Market during a Monday afternoon preview tour of the store. “Auto, household, air filters, (starter) logs, lights, heaters, fans, knicknacks, stuff for weekend projects. It’s nice, because a lot of stores don’t have those items.”

Customers will get to see for themselves on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., when a ribbon is cut to officially open Beaverton’s third Neighborhood Market. The 61,000-square-foot store will be open 24 hours, seven days a week, and has 95 part- and full-time employees.

The bright, high-ceilinged store features an array of prepared food options including locally made products from Dave’s Killer Bread, Franz Bakery and Reser’s Fine Foods. Six aisles are devoted to health and beauty products, and the extensive pet products aisle includes bulk-sized food bags. Past the six staffed check-out lines and six self-check-out stations is a customer service area that allows customers who order products on to have merchandise shipped there to be picked up at their convenience.

“A lot of items on we don’t carry in the store,” Fleming said. “We just don’t have the space for all those things. But you can sure get it ordered and pick it up.”

Friday morning’s opening ceremony will launch a weekend of family-oriented fanfare including guest appearances by the Oreo Cookie Man, Chester Cheeto and Ernie the Keebler elf, among others. What Fleming calls “Retail-tainment Saturday” will also feature attractions such as a NASCAR racing simulator, an Amp energy drink monster truck hummer, a Mini-Cooper full of Red Bull promotion girls, face painting, free barbecue and smoothies.

“There will be festivities all weekend,” Fleming said. “It’s going to be like Disneyland.”

The market reactivates a building that’s been dormant since April 2011, when Bellingham, Wash.-based Haggen Food and Pharmacy closed its Beaverton store after six years of business. Remodeling began on the building in August 2013 and wrapped up in February, said Rick Thomas, a Portland-based public relations representative for Walmart.

The Murray store will be the last of three Walmart Neighborhood Markets planned for the city, joining locations at the former Zupan’s Market at 8225 S.W. Apple Way, and the former Ashley Furniture outlet at 17275 N.W. Cornell Road.

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle, who will be traveling on city-related business and unable to attend the opening event, said the store makes good use of an existing building while providing another grocery-shopping alternative for Sexton Mountain residents.

“Our residents in the area will greatly benefit from another option for their grocery shopping and the added vitality a new business brings to the area,” Doyle said last week. “We are also excited that this new store will bring 95 new jobs to the community.”

While he wouldn’t presume to tell people where to shop, Fleming encouraged those who haven’t experienced the Neighborhood Market to give it a try.

“We’re offering another option, along with jobs in the community,” he said. “And we’re reusing a building that’s been sitting here vacant a long time. I’d ask people to at least come in and look at it and see that it’s a friendly, nice store.”

Visit the My Local Walmart Facebook page at TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Matt Cooper, an assistant manager at the Murray Boulevard Walmart Neighborhood Market, walks down the cereal aisle with the store manager, JD Fleming.

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