'Baby Wal-Mart' to open on Chicago's South Side

March 9, 2011

(WBEZ/Bill Healy)
21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr.

A Chicago alderman says his South Side neighborhood is getting one of the country's first scaled-down Wal-Mart stores.

Alderman Howard Brookins, Jr., 21st, is confirming the store will be built in Chatham, adjacent to a planned Wal-Mart Super Center in the same area. The smaller Wal-Mart will be about the size of a convenience store.

The idea is to attract customers who shy away from massive big-box stores, but still seek out discount prices, Brookins said.

"This 'Baby Wal-Mart' is gonna open soon," Brookins said. "We anticipate, therefore, we're gonna be able to get other stores attracted to the area and the location. And it'll be a win-win for the community with jobs, for the city with tax revenue."

Brookins said Wal-Mart will break ground on the smaller store during the next couple of months. He said the small-format Wal-Mart will open sooner than 150,000 square foot mega-store planned for nearby.

Wal-Mart's presence in Chicago has long been a point of controversy with labor unions, who oppose the retail chain because they say it doesn't pay its workers high enough wages.

Representatives for Wal-Mart wouldn't comment publicly for this story.