After opening to much fanfare three years ago, Wal-Mart is shuttering its Neighborhood Market in the Midtown section of St. Petersburg.
First reported by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the retail giant announced it will close the store at 1794 22nd St. S March 3; its pharmacy will close Feb. 1.
The store was formerly a Sweetbay Supermarket.
“After a careful and thoughtful review process, we have made the difficult decision to close our Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg,” a Wal-Mart representatives said in a statement. “We have been, and will continue to be, supportive of our local store leadership and associates, and this decision is in no way a reflection of their hard work and customer service over the last three years. This decision is based on a number of factors, including financial performance and strategic alignment with long-term plans.”
After Sweetbay decided to close all its Florida stores, former St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster had pressured the company to keep the nearly 40,000-square-foot location open, which was owned by the city.
“We are incredibly disappointed by Wal-Mart’s decision to close this particular store. In light of the city’s pursuit of Tangerine Plaza and our ability to incentivize Wal-Mart’s remaining, we are hopeful that they will revisit this decision,” current Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a statement.
“However, anticipating their closure, we will work closely with them to ensure their employees are placed at other Wal-Mart locations,” Kriseman added.
“While I join in the frustration many of our residents will feel, this may be an opportunity to secure a tenant that can successfully self-perpetuate or create an amenity that better serves the wants and needs of the surrounding community.”
The Neighborhood Market was a key business in the Tangerine shopping plaza, which had been expected to bring economic vitality to a traditionally underserved community of the city.