By Teri Carnicelli
Sunnyslope residents who have long mourned the loss of a grocery store at Central and Dunlap avenues are ready to rejoice as Wal-Mart has announced plans to put one of its new Wal-Mart Market concepts in the anchor space vacated several years ago by Food City.
According to a statement released by Wal-Mart officials, “Adaptive re-use of the former Food City store provides an opportunity to bring activity back to a dormant property while providing Wal-Mart with a ready-made location in the Sunnyslope area.”
The space currently is being remodeled and when open in early 2014 it will include a full-service grocery store with produce, meats, deli and bakery, and dairy products offered at the same low prices that are generally found in the Supercenters. The market also will include a pharmacy, health and beauty section, and some household items.
“The Wal-Mart Market provides customers an opportunity to take care of all their errands at a single stop,” says Clare Abel of Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A., representing Wal-Mart Market. Abel herself lives in the area and had two sons graduate from Sunnyslope High School, so she knows how much the area has missed a “walking distance” grocery store since Food City shut its doors.
“Marketplace at Central was at one time a vibrant center,” Abel says. “It is currently undergoing a transformation and the opening of a grocery store in this center will assure its revitalization. By occupying this existing facility, Wal-Mart will bring activity back to this center that supports the retail and service businesses in the area.”
While the market will sell packaged liquor, Wal-Mart’s policies for its Neighborhood Markets prohibit on-premises consumption of alcohol. Although the store will be open 24 hours, liquor will be marketed only during lawful selling hours, 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.
The Phoenix City Council is set to make a recommendation on the Series 9 liquor license transfer request at its Sept. 18 meeting. Those objecting to the liquor sales can attend the 3 p.m. meeting in the Phoenix Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St., and voice their opinions, or submit written arguments in opposition to the Director of the Department of Liquor no later than 15 days after the City Council votes upon this application. Letters in support also are accepted.
Call the Arizona Liquor Department at 602-542-5141 with any questions about their procedures.