Midtown St. Pete welcomes Walmart - WFLA News Channel 8

Midtown St. Pete welcomes Walmart

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The new Walmart opens Wednesday The new Walmart opens Wednesday
The new store opened its doors early in the morning. The new store opened its doors early in the morning.
After a short opening ceremony customers were able to shop After a short opening ceremony customers were able to shop
The happy opening day cake The happy opening day cake
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Midtown St. Petersburg welcomes Walmart to the neighborhood Wednesday.

Sweetbay operated a store in Tangerine Plaza until last year. The economically depressed area has gone without a chain grocery store ever since it went out of business.

"Everybody had to go on the other side of town to shop," explained Midtown St. Pete resident John Reese.

Reese says he's spent months loading his wheelchair onto a bus to travel several miles away to buy his essentials. Not anymore.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market opens at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.  The new location includes a pharmacy and liquor store.

The city expedited building permits and inspections to allow the store to open quickly. More than 100 people, mostly Midtown residents, were hired to work there.

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