Walmart Neighborhood Market aims to give back to Starkville

Walmart Neighborhood Market manager Brandon Williams was the guest speaker at the Starkville Kiwanis meeting Tuesday. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

Starkville's Walmart Neighborhood Market, which opened Jan. 17 at 105 Market St., aims to give back to the community it serves.

During the grand opening ceremony, Walmart Neighborhood Market presented $8,000 in grants to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society, Starkville Police Department, Starkville Police Department and the Starkville Parks and Recreation Department.

Starkville Walmart Neighborhood Market manager Brandon Williams said each store had a budget each year for community grants, and any non-profit can apply for a grant ranging from $250 to $2,500. The new year for applications begins Feb. 1.

"Any time any organization in town has a need, we want to be here to help," Williams said.

Along with community grants, Williams said Walmart Neighborhood Market has partnered with Pinelake Church to donate food to their food bank.

"Anything we consider not our best, we pull and donate to the food bank as long as it is still in date and of good quality," Williams said.

Williams said the new Walmart Neighborhood Market created around 100 jobs, and 95 percent of those were new hires from Starkville; very few were transfers.

Williams said the new grocery store was decorated with Mississippi State University artwork to make the store feel like it belonged in the community.

"We really want to focus on being part of the community," he said. "If you go in, you'll see a lot of Mississippi State graphics on the walls. That's something we wanted to do because we understand the university is a huge part of this town."

Williams said the new store is a prototype that concentrates on wider aisles and space, as well as fresh produce, meats and a bakery.

"We really pride ourselves on fresh produce, bakery and meats," he said.

Williams said he happily takes suggestions on merchandise and feedback to cater to Starkville residents and MSU students.

The store also has a gas station and full-service pharmacy with a drive-through that can be easily accessed from Market Street.

WIlliams said the store's location not only allows for quick and easy pharmacy drive through and online store pick-up access, the goal is alleviate traffic from Highway 12 and allow for expansion in the area around the store.

Williams said sidewalks have been added around the store for further area expansion, and it is scheduled to be added to the S.M.A.R.T. bus route in June.