New shopping center with area’s first Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on track to open by early summer

dbryant@thesunnews.comJanuary 29, 2014 

Ocean Lakes Village Construction

The block walls of the stores including a Walmart Neighborhood Market, that will make up Ocean Lakes Village are coming up fast.

CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

A new shopping center featuring the area’s first Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is under construction and on track to open no later than June 1.

The new Ocean Lakes Village will include a roughly 46,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market -- which is the retailer’s smaller, grocery store concept -- and other yet-to-be-named stores.

Crews have been busy at the site off U.S. 17 Business near S.C. 544 since the fall, shortly after the Buccaneer Bay Miniature Golf Course closed in August after 24 years in business to make way for the new development. Now, the Wal-Mart market building and buildings that will house 7,500-square-feet of other stores are going up.

The stores are on schedule to open no later than June 1, said Steve Alger, vice president of The Jackson Cos., which is developing the shopping center and owns Ocean Lakes Family Campground.

The Neighborhood Market stores, which are much smaller than the massive 182,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenters, aim to make it more convenient for shoppers to snag some groceries, including organic and natural items, or pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy.

The Neighborhood Market stores feature a pharmacy and a grocery area that includes fresh produce, meats, dairy products, bakery and deli items. The store also sells household supplies and health and beauty products.

This Neighborhood Market also will have extra space for beach-related merchandise, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

“We look forward to providing our customers with convenient access to fresh, affordable food and products they need for their families,” she said.

There are no plans to close any of Wal-Mart’s other area stores -- including a Supercenter just a few miles away at S.C. 544 and U.S. 17 Bypass -- with the opening of the Neighborhood Market, Henneberg said. Wal-Mart has a strong presence in the Myrtle Beach area with about a half dozen stores and a Sam’s Club. It is one of Horry County’s largest employers, with roughly 2,100 workers.

Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets usually have about 95 employees, Henneberg said. Wal-Mart typically opens a hiring center a few months prior to a store’s grand opening where jobseekers can apply for work, though no timetable has been set for the opening of the hiring center for the new Neighborhood Market store here yet.

The first Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and there are now 290 locations across the country. There are two open in South Carolina, in Greer and Greenville.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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