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Walmart planning new supermarket for Goose Creek

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Walmart is planning to build a new Walmart Neighborhood Market location in Goose Creek, city leaders say. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) Walmart is planning to build a new Walmart Neighborhood Market location in Goose Creek, city leaders say. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)
The new Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for Goose Creek will offer grocery options, prepared foods, a bakery and a pharmacy. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) The new Walmart Neighborhood Market planned for Goose Creek will offer grocery options, prepared foods, a bakery and a pharmacy. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)
A Walmart developer called the Goose Creek community a "step above" others being considered for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market, Mayor Michael Heitzler said. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) A Walmart developer called the Goose Creek community a "step above" others being considered for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market, Mayor Michael Heitzler said. (Photo Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.)

Walmart says Goose Creek is a "step above" more than a dozen other communities it has been considering for a new Walmart Neighborhood Market store, according to Mayor Michael Heitzler.

The retailer is moving forward with plans to build the market on a 7.3 acre property formerly occupied by the Butchies by Design store on St. James Avenue, Heitzler said.

The finished facility will include a full supermarket including organic and natural selections and various prepared food options, along with a pharmacy and an adjoining gas station that will all match each other in look and design. The new store is planned to be about a quarter the size of a typical Walmart Superstore and will focus on supermarket fare.

It is a success story for the community, which Heitzler says sticks to a "conscientious development" plan.

"We don't want just anything coming in here," Heitzler says. "We want to be intentional about our planning."

With a development overlay in mind, city council intends to hold developers accountable to strict standards in terms of everything from the architecture of the building to landscaping, parking lot design and even smaller details including windows and doors.

Heitzler admits that those standards have caused criticism from other developers who have labeled Goose Creek leaders "difficult to deal with" because of "unnecessary obstacles." But that view, he says, was not shared by developers in this case.

"I asked them if they felt we were difficult to deal with and they told me, 'Not at all.' They said we were very clear with what we wanted and came to a common understanding quickly. And they said the extra effort to make it right is worth it. I'm very proud of our staff on that," Heitzler said.

Heitzler scoffed at criticism about whether Goose Creek needs another supermarket in the area, pointing out the new location will be convenient for shoppers on that side of town and will have one additional benefit.

"Competition is good," he says.

The first step in the new development is to raze the old Butchies building, but it is not clear exactly how soon the demolition will begin. There is also no firm target date for a grand opening, yet.

Goose Creek is said to be one of 15 communities the developer has been working with for possible locations. Heitzler says he hasn't seen a list of which other communities have been considered.

The first Walmart Neighborhood Market location opened in 1998. There are currently more than 250 Neighborhood Market stores nationwide.

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