The Walmart Neighborhood Market on the North Trail is in many ways unlike your typical Walmart.
While you can't get your oil change here or buy a TV off the shelf, the grocery store still offers a variety of services and options that a Walmart discount store might not in the area. And it's not open 24/7.
The Neighborhood Market, 3500 N. Tamiami Trail, opens today at 8 a.m., then opens daily 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The store is managed by Jeff Douglas, who gave Patch a tour of the new store Tuesday. (Read more about Jeff Douglas' Walmart journey on Patch.)
Out of the thousands of Walmarts, there are only 200 Neighborhood Markets in the country. However, Tampa Bay has a good concentration of Neighborhood Markets. There are two Neighborhood Markets in Tampa, one in Town N' Country, Brandon and Pinellas Park. Expect that trend of Neighborhood Markets in Florida to continue as a developer has plans for three new ones in northeast Florida, Jacksonville Business Journal reports, and the greater Miami area could see seven such formats open within two years, according to The Miami Herald.
The Sarasota store offers a full-service pharmacy, which has its own hours, said Pharmacy Manager Steve Micklavszina. The pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The pharmacy is closed for lunch from 1:30 to 2 p.m. every day.
You can only fit so much in about 32,000 square feet, so to make up for fewer aisles, some areas will see risers and taller aisles, compared to the trend of Walmart lowering aisles. And with the lower ceiling, it feels more like a community grocery store. But given the space, there's still enough on hand to replenish the shelves every day, Douglas said.
"Our mission every day is to be grand opening ready," he said.
Here's what you need to know about the new store:
• It's the only Walmart in Sarasota to have Self Checkouts (four stations). These are express lanes only used for 20 items or less.
• Seven cashier-operated lanes as opposed to the 20-30 seen in Supercenters
• Neighborhood Markets, including this one, are the only Walmarts that sell lottery tickets
• Features a self-service Rug Doctor rental, something that many Walmarts have eliminated
• Self-service digital photo printing kiosk at the front of the store
• Wine and cold beer available
• Paper goods, cosmetics, health and beauty and stationery aisles
• Hardware/automotive products are limited to one aisle
• Key cutting/copies available at Customer Service
• First Walmart in Sarasota city limits
• About 90 full- and part-time employees, of which 15 are transfers. Large Supercenters can employ as many as 300 to 500 associates. The average hourly associate in Florida makes $12.65 an hour, according to a July wage survey.
The store also participates in the Site To Store program, Douglas said, combined with the Pay With Cash program.
"Just because we're a grocery store doesn't mean you can't get general merchandise," he said.
So let's say you know you want to pick up a TV from Walmart but don't want to drive to another Walmart while getting your weekly groceries.
Customers can visit Walmart.com and choose the Site To Store option to have any product that's eligible for the program to be sent to the Neighborhood Market, and once there, can even pay with cash at the store.
The store is also working on becoming a Ticketmaster outlet, something that other Walmarts in Sarasota now offer at the electronics counter, Douglas said.