Going to Walmart will soon be like heading to class for Georgia Institute of Technology students.
The multinational retail corporation is scheduled to open its second Walmart on Campus — a small, micro version of the superstore — at the Atlanta-based school in the second quarter of this year, Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo said. The Georgia Tech store will be the smallest Walmart in the country.
“We’re always looking for ways to provide customers with more convenient access to affordable products,” he said.
Georgia Tech spokeswoman Lisa Grovenstein declined comment because plans are still in the early stages.
Joe Kummer, a junior at Georgia Tech, said he hasn’t heard from too many fellow students or the university about the forthcoming store. He said a friend posted about it on Facebook and another mentioned it in passing.
The biggest benefit of the forthcoming store, he said, will be buying items at a reasonable price.
“It’ll be a lot better than the options we have on campus right now,” Kummer said.
Walmart on Campus, Restivo said, is a “test format” that features basic groceries, health and beauty aids and general merchandise. These stores range from about 2,500 to 5,000 square feet and also offer a full pharmacy that serves most insurance plans, Restivo said. Walmart Financial Services, which includes check cashing and bill pay, will also be available at the college store.
Walmart doesn’t have any additional announced projects, Restivo said.
The first and only other Walmart on Campus opened in 2011 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., and is about an hour away from the company’s headquarters in Bentonville.
University of Arkansas was looking to fill a vacant facility on campus. Walmart placed a bid for the spot and won, university spokesman John Diamond said.
“We were looking for something that would be a superstore tailored to students,” he said.
Abigail Brumfield, a senior political science major at the school, said the smaller Walmart store “naturally fit well into the community.”
The 22-year-old said she was in “Smallmart,” as she called it, last week to buy dish soap. She also has her photos developed and her medical prescription sent there.
“Everything is very simply laid out and it’s very easy to go in and get something,” she said.
The store “offers students other services that they would otherwise have to travel off campus for” and items that “students and people who live on a college campus need,” Diamond said.
The pharmacy, he said, delivers on campus to faculty, staff and students.
“It’s a nice convenience that the students and staff appreciate,” Diamond said.
Brumfield said the store was taking recommendations on what products to have during its first week.
“They bended over backwards to convenience the students,” she said.
Walmart “researches their potential clientele really well and, as a result, it’s become very popular here,” Diamond said.
Brumfield doesn’t always shop at the campus store, though. She said she’ll head out to other local Walmarts because the one at school is limited in size and product variety.
“It’s more targeted towards students,” Brumfield said. “You wouldn’t have a large family going there to get groceries.”
Kummer said he’s excited for the new store because it’ll keep him from traveling farther away to quickly buy much-needed items. But, he’s not depending on it.
“I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t come.”
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