Provo’s more than 115,000 residents will see the first Wal-Mart within city limits by next summer.
One of the company’s smaller store models will be installed at the Plum Tree Shopping Center strip mall on 2255 N. University Parkway.
The new store will be a Walmart Market, which at 41,000 square feet, is about five times smaller than a Walmart Supercenter and three times smaller than a Walmart Discount Store. The store’s emphasis, as opposed to larger models, is typical grocery store amenities.
“Walmart Neighborhood Market in Provo can be part of the solution for residents who want more convenient access to fresh, affordable food or more job opportunities close to where they live or work,” said Wal-Mart spokesperson Rachel Wall, adding that it will “revitalize the space” last occupied by a Fresh Market in 2010.
Wall estimated the new location will create roughly 65 jobs by the time it is up and running.
“A temporary hiring center will open near the store next spring to facilitate recruiting, interviews and training,” she said.
The market will share a prime location with several restaurants, including Pizza Pie Cafe, KFC and Nicolitalia Pizza. The location will also offer an instant photo processing center, website to store merchandise pickup, a pharmacy, deli and a bakery.
Students said they already have good go-to grocery shopping options but would be interested in seeing the new location.
“I like Smith’s because it’s close and Winco because of the great prices but (Walmart) will be just about as close,” said Kara Jeffrey, a BYU senior. “If it has good prices I’ll definitely add it to my list of places to go.”
The nearest Walmart Supercenter in Orem has a reputation for being extremely busy because of its proximity to two large universities.
“I think it could ease traffic a bit because then people won’t have to go all the way to Orem,” Jeffrey said.
Nearby grocery stores Macey’s, Smith’s, Fresh Market and even the BYU Creamery may be most affected by the new competition. Some students are waiting to see how quickly customers fill up the aisles before switching up their shopping habits.
“I hate shopping in crowded places … and to me, trying to fight the crowds wouldn’t be worth saving a few extra dollars. I wouldn’t want to shop at a crowded Provo Walmart,” said Darcie Hill, a BYU junior. “I would love to have less crowded Smith’s and Macey’s (as a result of the new store).”
Walmart operates 53 stores in Utah and employs 17,000 workers, making it the fifth largest employer in the state just behind BYU. Five of the company’s in-state locations are Walmart Markets.