West Chatham store nearly a decade in the making;
City officials on hand to celebrate 350 jobs and new source for affordable food
CHICAGO, Jan. 25, 2012 – Chicago’s second Walmart supercenter opened today in the Chatham Market, bringing new jobs and more affordable grocery options to the 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.
“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 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.”
At a grand opening event at 8331 South Stewart Avenue, Walmart executives were joined by Alderman Brookins and other elected 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 is a great day,” heralded Alderman Brookins. “It was worth the fight. Chicagoans who live on the South Side deserve to have the same economic opportunities Chicagoans on the North Side take for granted. I believe that the Walmart Supercenter will enable the Chatham Market development to expand and grow, providing even more opportunities for the residents of my community to work and shop close to home.”
The 157,000 sq. ft. store features a full line of groceries as well as a bakery, a delicatessen, a 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 Chatham store manager Keith Richards, who started his Walmart career 11 years ago as an hourly associate and most recently managed the Country Club Hills store, an emphasis was placed on local hiring. More than three-quarters of the store associates live on the south side working in roles like store management, pharmacy, human resources, customer service, cashiers and sales associates.
“All across the country, our customers are at the center of everything we do,” said Labeed Diab, Senior Vice President, 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.”
Construction of the store was managed via a joint venture between Powers & Sons and UJAMAA Construction, both African-American general contractors. According to Jimmy Akintonde, President UJAMAA Construction, Inc., about 300 construction jobs were created and the selection process was inclusive and local.
“Walmart continues to create opportunity for minorities within the construction industry,” said Mr. Akintonde. “Through a close working relationship with Walmart, Alderman Brookins and the community, we awarded 39 percent of all subcontracts on this project to M/WBE companies, many of whom were local contractors like ourselves with offices in close proximity to the site.”
In addition to the two locations in Chatham, the retailer operates stores in the West Loop, Wrigleyville and Austin neighborhoods of Chicago.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 9,600 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.