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Walmart Neighborhood Market opens at former Zupans site


First-day shoppers compare prices at scaled-down store

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Rabbi Motti Wilhelm, who is affiliated with Chabad of Oregon, gives an invocation during the grand opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Market on Southwest Apple Way.While shopping at the just-opened Walmart Neighborhood Market in Raleigh Hills on Wednesday morning, Kay Benbrooks admitted her daughter and other family members aren’t exactly fans of the retail behemoth.

“They make a lot of money,” she said, referring to the higher-end tastes of her family’s younger demographic.

Family loyalty notwithstanding, Benbrooks was determined to check out the prices and offerings at the new Walmart Neighborhood Market at 8235 S.W. Apple Way — the location of Zupan’s Market from 1973 until it closed in 2009 — during its first hours of operations.

“I wanted to comparison shop,” she said. “It’s a pretty good selection. I was able to find everything on my list.”

The curiosity that drew Benbrooks also brought in an enthusiastic, if manageable smattering of fellow shoppers to celebrate the store’s grand opening event at 7:30 a.m., 30 minutes before Walmart officially opened its newest Beaverton store. With Rabbi Motti Wilhelm, affiliated with Chabad of Oregon, delivering an invocation, store General Manager James Reiter greeted shoppers and Merchandise Supervisor Chuck Miller led staff and guests in the “Walmart Cheer” during the ceremonies.by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Walmart Merchandise Supervisor Chuck Miller leads the Walmart Cheer during the grand opening of a Neighborhood Market in the former Zupan's Market on Southwest Apple Way.

Taking a breather as the first wave of shoppers dispersed, Reiter’s first store opening as a general manager went about as well as could be expected.

“Things always come together at the last minute,” he said.

He shared his enthusiasm for the Neighborhood Market format, a scaled-down, grocery- and pharmacy-only variation of Walmart’s better-known superstore model. As with the store that opened at 17275 N.W. Cornell Road last spring, the market format typically involves the reuse of an existing building.

“I enjoy the Neighborhood Market format,” said Reiter, who started his Walmart career in 1998 as an hourly associate at a Hermiston distribution center. “We take all the pieces of the larger brother and put it into an existing package. Some of these (older) buildings are dark” and uninviting. “We take them over and add something to the community. It’s easier to find smaller formats to slip into where we can start generating jobs.”

The new store, which has about 70 part- and full-time employees, offers products from local companies such as Beaverton Foods and Reser’s Fine Foods, all flagged on the shelves with “Oregon’s Own” banners. Along with a full line of groceries, the store’s deli features a “grab-and-go” section with rotisserie chicken, fresh-baked pizza and standard deli sides.by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Walmart Neighborhood Market store Manager James Reiter cuts the red ribbon during the grand opening of the new store on Southwest Apple Way on Wednesday morning.

Outside the store’s pharmacy, a Solo Health station provides automated personal health assessments, including tests for vision, blood pressure and body mass index.

At 25,000 square feet, the Apple Way Neighborhood Market is a smaller version of the 42,000-square-foot store that opened in May on Cornell Road. The newest store keeps intact the unique store architecture of the former Zupan’s, in which large wooden beams support a high cathedral-like ceiling.

New sales associate Jennaleigh Foerester, a Hillsboro resident, said she feels fortunate to work at the new store after spending four years looking for suitable employment. She likes the store’s atmosphere and appreciates the extensive training she received.

“We had an eight-hour class just on how to use the register,” she said. “I like how (the store) saves people money and is people friendly. At other grocery stores, it’s hard to find people to help you. Here, it’s the total opposite.”

To satisfy conditions set by the city of Beaverton’s Planning Commission in response to Laurelwood neighbors’ concerns about noise and traffic, the market will be open for business from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with after-hours activity limited to interior stocking and no large-truck deliveries permitted.

Vickie Shopmeyer, a Raleigh Hills resident checking out the store with Noah, her 6-month-old son, said curiosity brought her into the store on Wednesday morning.

“There’s a little less going on here,” she said, compared to larger supermarkets. “Sometimes I want to go in and get out and get it done, so this is nice.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Roger Reschke was the first shopper to go through the doors.