Press

February 04 , 2005

Wal-Mart fits into swanky Uptown just fine

Wal-Mart fits into swanky Uptown just fine

February4th, 2005 - Sandra Zaragoza Senior Writer Though the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market near Uptown and downtown Dallas has been open a little over a week, it's already hard for some shoppers to imagine life without it. That may be dramatizing it, but in an area best known for upscale shopping and dining it seems to be fitting in quite nicely. And looking around its parking lot, there are many bargain hunters being lured by its convenient access to North Central Expressway and cheap produce. The store, which has brick exposed walls, a friendly layout and plenty of checkout counters, seems to be a hit so far. Like other Neighborhood Markets, it has a bakery that produces fresh tortillas, a pharmacy with a drive-thru and a quick-stop area where time-pressed shoppers can grab coffee, donuts, sandwiches and drinks. But while the market won't likely grace the pages of Art Forum magazine, the mammoth retailer made an obvious attempt to fit into the pruned Uptown neighborhood with its brick design. Wal-Mart wouldn't give up figures on the cost of the Uptown Wal-Mart, but real estate expert Terry Syler of Dallas-based The Retail Connection speculates that Wal-Mart likely paid in excess of $50 per square foot for the prized location, so it isn't going to be shy about going after its customers. For starters, Wal-Mart has put out ads in the local papers and has sent out mailers announcing its arrival to the immediate neighborhoods, according to Aaron Carter, Wal-Mart district manager, who oversees 10 Wal-Mart stores in Dallas, Garland and Rowlett. In addition, it has stocked the shelves "to fit with the demographics of the community." For example, with the dense Hispanic population largely flowing in from the east side of Central, the store has made an effort to stock certain lines of Hispanic foods. And other products like low-carb tortillas and a huge selection of yogurt are aimed at the health-conscious.