Celebrating Like Family at the First Neighborhood Market

Neighborhood Markets

What a fitting place to commemorate 25 years of the family feeling that’s become the neighborhood market’s signature.

When you start a family, there are milestones you hope to hit. Five, ten, fifteen years are all milestones worth celebrating. But those bigger milestones — like 25 years — are just special.

It certainly felt like a special occasion at the first Neighborhood Market, Store 2741, in Bentonville, Arkansas on October 7. It was a refreshingly brisk morning, but the family atmosphere was enough to warm the hearts of all that attended.

“It’s like a family environment. Here, we all know each other,” says store manager, Sonia Barrett.

Sonia had a whole weekend of anniversary celebrations planned. Her 27-year anniversary with Walmart happened to be the very next day on October 8. She started her career at another historic Walmart location, Store 1.

When Sonia was promoted to lead Store 2741, she was humbled. “When I realized that this was the first Neighborhood Market, I felt so honored. It doesn’t get better than this,” Sonia says.

Helping each other like family

Families take care of each other, and Luis Marinez Veloz was back at his old store to lend a hand in the celebration. Luis is currently the people lead at Neighborhood Market 6953 in nearby Centerton, but last year he was working at Store 2741 when he heard of an associate who needed his help. She was filling out her application to become a United States citizen.

Luis, a Dominican Republican native, had recently filled out his own application for citizenship. “It was fresh in my mind, so I sat down with her and helped her fill out the application,” he explains. “And a couple months later, she got it!” Now Luiz and the associate he helped are both American citizens.

Luis says he loves coming back to his old store to visit, “Everybody feels like a family here.”

Reflecting on how far we’ve come

During the day’s celebration, Regional Vice President Jaime Fernandez noted that there are many factors to the Neighborhood Market’s success.

“When we reflect back over the last 25 years, starting with a format that was kind of a laboratory for Walmart, to get to almost 700 stores, it’s just amazing! The customer experience here is very unique. Customers can come in to do their grocery shopping and get out quickly. It’s about the convenience combined with the Every Day Low Price.”

Jaime was also quick to mention that it’s a shared purpose for helping people that contributes to the family atmosphere not just in Neighborhood Market 2741, but all over the country. “In general, all Neighborhood Markets have a family environment,” he shares.

Congratulations to the team at Neighborhood Market 2741, and here’s to another 25 years of that family feeling!

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