The city plans to celebrate its first supermarket in more than 20 years, fulfilling residents’ top request in city surveys.
A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market will hold a grand opening ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the store at Rufe Snow Drive and Boulevard 26, Richland Hills officials said. The doors will open at 8 a.m.
“I think it’s wonderful,” City Councilwoman Beverly Williams said. “One hundred percent of our citizens have to leave town to buy groceries. … We’ll have a tax base from it. We’ll have a grocery store in town, which the citizens just have asked and asked and asked for.”
Wal-Mart’s media relations personnel could not be reached for comment this week. In an earlier email, Wal-Mart Director of Communications Anne Hatfield wrote that the store will provide about 95 jobs.
The markets are typically a fifth the size of a standard Wal-Mart and offer primarily groceries and household products.
The company will receive up to $500,000 in tax and cash incentives from the city over 10 years, Richland Hills officials said.
The city is expected to receive at least $20,000 a year in increased property tax revenue from the new building and a minimum of $150,000 in sales tax revenue a year, officials said. Two-thirds of that money will go to the city’s general fund to pay salaries and other day-to-day expenses. The other third will be split between the city’s crime control prevention district and its economic development fund.
The city of about 8,400 residents has not had a supermarket since the 1980s, said Jason Moore, assistant to the city manager. A Sam’s Club closed in 2000, a devastating economic blow to the city.
The Rufe Snow-Boulevard 26 site was cleared in 2003 as part of a public-private effort to attract a supermarket. An Albertsons supermarket was slated to anchor the new strip center, but the project never materialized. City officials said the company wanted to concentrate on its existing stores.
A Sam’s Furniture and Appliance store; the Book Swap, which specialized in out-of-print used books; the Sir Loin Steak House; and Archie’s Donut Shop were among the businesses that were demolished. Seven houses in the nearby 6600 block of Hovenkamp Avenue were also purchased and demolished.
The 6.9-acre site remained vacant until Wal-Mart began construction this summer.
The Wal-Mart will be about 42,000 square feet and will include a gas station, city officials said. Wages at Wal-Mart average $12.46 an hour in Texas, Hatfield wrote. Wal-Mart has declined to say how much the store cost to build, calling that information proprietary.