Walmart opens first store in downtown Chicago

September 21, 2011

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(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
The new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, connecting to Presidential Towers.

Walmart is continuing to branch out in the Chicago market. It opened its first downtown store Wednesday.

This Walmart is not like the other Wal-Marts in Chicago or even Illinois. After years of battles with Chicago politicians and labor unions, the company is now gearing this new West Loop store to a more urban clientele. Walmart calls it a Neighborhood Market.

"Here is a juice display where we've essentially got about 16 feet of juice products for customers," Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo said while standing the middle of the juice aisle.

"The point is, again, even though the store is smaller, we still want to offer customers that broad assortment," he said.

The store has eight full-length aisles with products ranging from produce to mops and brooms. Restivo said six or seven more Walmarts are planned for inside Chicago's city limits, with even more in the works by 2015.