TUPELO – Although the world’s largest retailer could alter his plans, Brooks Davis still plans to build a Brooks Grocery in west Tupelo.
Rumors have circulated recently that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to build three of its smaller-format stores in the city, including two within a relatively short distance of the proposed Brooks Grocery store. Speculation has been that Davis has shelved his plans, but he said, “I don’t make decisions based on rumors. As far as I’m concerned, until I hear something official, we’re still planning to build the store.”
Last month, Iuka-based Brooks Grocery broke ground on a 27,000-square-foot supermarket, with plans to open next spring on the corner of West Jackson Extended and Coley Road near the Tupelo Furniture Market.
Davis has heard about Wal-Mart’s plans, but reiterated that he will continue to move forward on his project until he hears differently.
Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to a request from the Daily Journal.
However, the city’s Development Services director, Shane Hooper, confirmed that the retailer has made preliminary inquiries about the permitting process in Tupelo. Hooper said the company is looking at building three Walmart Neighborhood Market stores in the city, but declined to say where they are.
“Nothing has been decided, and nothing has been written in stone,” Hooper said, adding that the company has not filed anything with the city officially.
Wal-Mart has said it plans to open as many as 300 small-format Walmart Express and Walmart Neighborhood Market stores across the country this year. The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and the company now has about 300 of them across the country.
The smaller-format stores include a grocery with fresh produce, health and beauty aids, pet products, cleaning supplies and a pharmacy.
They are about a quarter the size of a Walmart Supercenter, which typically are 120,000 to 180,000 square feet. Neighborhood Markets are about 38,000 square feet.
The proposed Tupelo Walmart Neighborhood Markets would be about 42,000 square feet, Hooper said.