Bellevue's first Walmart opened its doors to the public Friday morning at Kelsey Creek Shopping Center.
The Kelsey Creek Walmart is being called a "Neighborhood Market," with a floor plan of about 65,000 square feet, which is a smaller footprint than Walmart’s typical full-service store format, according to the company. Instead of the store's typical stock of merchandise, the store will focus on fresh produce and groceries, though there are some goods such as plastic bins, towels and shirts in the store.
The Kelsey Creek Walmart Neighborhood Market is the first such Walmart in Washington, the third on the West Coast, and around the 200th in the country, according to a Walmart spokeswoman.
The store employs about 110 people.
The store is not without detractors. Labor and community advocacy group Puget Sound Sage issued a study by researcher Christopher Fowler that claimed that each Walmart store in the Puget Sound area would result in a loss of millions in economic output and wages earned, according to Supermarket News, though Walmart responded by saying that Fowler's figures were inaccurate and his analysis outdated.
The store is located at the location of the old K-Mart at , at 148th Avenue and Main Street, which had been empty for a decade. The city made a deal with developer Franklin-West LLC to reduce certain fees in exchange for finding tenants by June of this year. Today, the site also has a new LA Fitness at the old K-Mart location, as well as other new tenants.
It's the first of two Walmart stores set to open in Bellevue. The second, at the where the Mervyn's closed five years ago, is slated to open later this year. That one will be a more typical Walmart store -- though still smaller than the average store, according to company officials -- with 76,000 square feet and the typical array of merchandise, including groceries, clothing, electronics and other household goods. The Factoria store is expected to be open in the fall.
If you go
The store will greet its new customers Saturday, June 30, with a grand opening celebration, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The event will host a celebrity appearance by former Seattle Seahawks running back Curt Warner with an autograph session and pictures with fans. Warner will be there from noon to 2 p.m.
Walmart is at 15063 Main St., Bellevue. (See map embedded with the story.)