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PHOTOS: North Trail Celebrates Walmart Neighborhood Market Grand Opening

The North Trail Walmart Neighborhood Market opened its doors Wednesday morning to an eager crowd of shoppers.

Sarasota—Walmart is now open for business.

The North Trail Walmart Neighborhood Market opened its doors Wednesday morning following much fanfare, giveaways and even a Walmart cheer.

Store Manager Jeff Douglas is at the helm of the first Walmart in Sarasota city limits, located at 3500 N. Tamiami Trail, on the corner of Myrtle Avenue.

"We are in your neighborhood, so thank you for welcoming us," he told the crowd, standing in front of Walmart associates from various stores, dignitaries, guests and oh yeah — a filled parking lot of customers.

The presentations included music by Booker High School, a flag ceremony with students from the JROTC program and check presentations to various community groups (see below).

Mayor Suzanne Atwell welcomed the store to the North Trail.

"This Walmart as all the Walmarts across the country are defining the new Walmart," Atwell said. "It's not your grandmother's Walmart anymore. This organization goes to the neighborhoods, and they tailor the needs to the neighborhood to what is going on. They meet with the neighbors."

The Walmart replaces a similar sized Winn-Dixie that closed in 2010 after nearly 40 years in Sarasota. The Neighborhood Market is mainly a grocery store with a pharmacy, produce section and a few other touches not found in typical Walmarts.

Vice Mayor Willie Shaw looked at a larger place of history in Sarasota.

"Those of us born here know that this was the meeting place," Shaw said about the crossroads of Myrtle and Tamiami Trail. "This was a place of transformation. This is what happened when we all came together. When we were first shopping on the old Third Street store where we had colored and white water fountains — things have certainly changed, have they not?"

William Hull of Sarasota is glad to see the Walmart open after shopping in the former Winn-Dixie at the same location.

"I wasn't sad to see it go," Hull said. "Not to be disparaging, but it wasn't really well kept or clean and the staff here is a lot friendlier."

Hull added he was impressed to see that the market had a good selection of pet food and supplies as well.

Daisy Zeigler stopped by to get a small amount of produce and other groceries and just to get oriented with the store. Zeigler said that so far, she likes it because the prices appear to be lower than the Publix she had shopped out.

Plus, she lives about two blocks away from the Walmart.

"This is very convenient," she said. 

The Walmart is open 6 a.m to 10 p.m. daily. Pharmacy is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The pharmacy is closed for lunch from 1:30 to 2 p.m. every day. 

The pharmacy will run a promotion from Sept. 20 to 23 where if you get your flu shot there, you get a free rotisserie chicken. The shots cost $20.

During the grand opening phase, the store will have a free raffle giving away a grill, kids bikes, tickets to Busch Gardens and the Tampa Bay Rays, on another day the store will grill steaks and the Tampa Bay Storm cheerleaders are expected to be on hand.

Grants Awarded

Boys and Girls Club, Gocio Elementary School, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"gocio-elementary-school"} -->, and North Tamiami Trail Development each received $1,000. A $1,500 grant will be presented to

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