BENTONVILLE, Ark., February 19, 2007 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) today announced the nine communities across the country that have been selected to be “Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones.” Wal-Mart Vice Chairman John Menzer was joined by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) and Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (D) at the sites of future Wal-Mart stores in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, respectively, to make this announcement.
The program will provide support to local businesses by offering advertising inside Wal-Mart’s stores and in local newspapers, as well as presenting additional funding for local chambers of commerce.
“It’s about creating opportunity beyond the four walls of our stores,” said Menzer. “And it’s about making unique contributions to the communities we serve, the millions of customers who rely on us and the thousands of associates we employ in communities just like this one.”
In Indianapolis, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter is set to open in early 2008 in the city’s Lafayette Square area. The neighborhood has lost several retailers over the years, but is now being redeveloped. Much of the revitalization is due to the efforts of the citizen-led Lafayette Square Area Coalition.
East Hills, Pennsylvania, is a community just outside of Pittsburgh. Operation Nehemiah, an initiative of the Petra Ministries congregation, has pursued retail development at the site of the former Eastgate Mall. The mall, which opened in the 1960s, lost most of its major tenants in the early 1980s. The mall was demolished in 2001. A new Wal-Mart Supercenter is to open at the site in early 2009.
Wal-Mart Stores in nine cities will serve as hubs for each of the Zones. These include:
- Cleveland, Ohio – A new Wal-Mart Supercenter will be built at the site of a former steelyard. The new development, which includes other retailers, will be called Steelyard Commons. The store is expected to open in Fall 2007.
- Decatur, Georgia – The site of the former Avondale Mall will be home to a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in this community just outside Atlanta. The store is to open in early 2008.
- El Mirage, Arizona – In this community near Luke Air Force Base, Wal-Mart will open a new Supercenter in area local officials have long targeted for economic investment. The store is to open in Summer 2007.
- Landover Hills, Maryland – In Spring 2007, Wal-Mart will open its first store inside the Washington, D.C., beltway at the former Capital Plaza Shopping Center in Prince George’s County.
- Portsmouth, Virginia – In January, a new Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in this community’s Mid-Town area. City officials have pursued economic investment in this area for years.
- Richmond, California – A former department store location is being transformed into a new Wal-Mart store at the Hilltop Mall in this Bay Area community. The new store will open in Spring 2007.
- Sanger, California – A new Wal-Mart Supercenter will be constructed at the site of a vacant commercial building in this community just outside of Fresno. The new store will open in Summer 2007.
Last April, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott announced the Jobs and Opportunity Zone, a program in which 10 designated Wal-Mart stores will work with the surrounding local businesses and suppliers to spur job creation and economic development. The West Side Chicago store – the first inside city limits – was the first Zone, and with today’s announcement, the company is fulfilling its commitment to nine other communities.
"Wal-Mart’s entire history is one of bringing benefits to American consumers who need them most, and today’s announcement is in keeping with that tradition. We’re proud you’ve selected Indiana as a site for this initiative," said Governor Mitch Daniels.
“It’s great to see a national retailer choose to locate in this neighborhood, which will bring new opportunities for local residents and the community,” said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. “The decision to locate here helps lure additional businesses to the area, providing residents with more convenient access to quality products, which in turn, keeps more consumer dollars in the community and translates into a better quality of life.”
Each of the Zones will be anchored by a Wal-Mart store and engage a host of local businesses and organizations with which the company will work to increase economic opportunities in surrounding neighborhoods. This initiative will create more opportunities for small businesses to capitalize on the benefits of having a Wal-Mart store in their community.
Wal-Mart will collaborate with local chambers of commerce, business groups, minority chambers of commerce and minority and women-owned businesses within these Zones to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to these communities.
Other aspects of the program include quarterly selection of five small businesses in each Zone for “Small Business Spotlights” through local newspaper advertising and on Wal-Mart’s in-store radio network. The company will also produce an annual “Wal-Mart Trends Report” that it will share exclusively with the small business community.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.