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Walmart Introduces Itself to North Sarasota

Representatives from Walmart and the city met with north trail residents last night to discuss plans to build a Walmart Market on N. Tamiami Trail.

If all goes well at a city planning board meeting on August 10, a Walmart Market will be approved to replace the now closed Winn-Dixie on the corner of Myrtle and N. Tamiami. 

Thursday evening, representatives from Walmart and the city of Sarasota held an informational meeting to discuss the proposed plan and talk about the needs of nearby community at the . 

The Walmart Market does not have the features of a standard Walmart, such as auto center, lawn care, clothing, etc. The Market will be exclusively a grocery store with a pharmacy. 

"This is going to be a great opportunity to bring together neighborhoods to shop for the most fundamental needs," said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. 

Since the Winn-Dixie closed late last year, residents on the North Trail have not had close access to a grocery store. According to the city, the Walmart Market will fill that need. 

"I believe this could be a great catalyst for future development along the North Trail," Atwell said in an interview with Patch. "I’m excited and I think a lot of the community is excited about this."

Michelle Belaire, a spokesperson for Walmart, said the facility would fill many local and neighborhood needs, including hiring within the city. 

She said between 90-120 days prior to the store's opening, Walmart would open a hiring center within a five-mile radius of the store. Belaire said there would be around 90-100 open positions. 

Those positions do not include potential hires during the expected 12-month construction process. 

"Once a bid is awarded, we encourage our general contractor to hire locally," Belaire said. 

"With a recession, if [we] can hire within our own parameters, how wonderful," Atwell said. "We have a lot of unemployed in Sarasota. This is going to serve a great need." 

Walmart will tear down the existing Winn-Dixie building and build a 34,244- square-foot facility. The store will be open between 6am - 10pm. 

Once completed, the Walmart Market would be the first ever Walmart within the city limits of Sarasota. 

This story corrects the size of the Walmart.

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