Wal-Mart planning small store in River North

By Sandra M. Jones
Posted April 13 at 4:13 p.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is in talks to open a Walmart Express convenience store in River North, according to real estate sources.

The world’s largest retailer is eyeing a location at 225 W. Chicago Ave. at the corner of Franklin Avenue, which formerly housed Pearl, the discount art supply store.

Wal-Mart unveiled its small store Express format earlier this year, and plans to begin rolling them out later this year. These mini stores, typically under 15,000 square feet, allow Wal-Mart to move into dense, urban markets.

The pending deal was first reported by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Wal-Mart officials declined to comment on the River North site.

“While it’s no secret that we are evaluating opportunities across the city to create jobs and improve access to affordable food, we don’t have any new sites to announce,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based discount chain is pushing into northern cities in an effort to jump-start sales and turn around a record sales slump.

Wal-Mart has announced six stores in the city, including three supercenters, a 27,000-square-foot Walmart Market grocery store at Presidential Towers apartment complex in the West Loop and two other Express stores.

Another Walmart Market grocery store is under consideration in Lakeview.

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  1. Jimbo April 13 at 3:24 pm


    Wally Mart in River North……good luck. The execs at WM haven’t done their market study homework.

  2. Cheryl April 13 at 3:29 pm

    There’s already a Walgreens right there, Chicago and Orleans. We don’t need another convenience store right there.

  3. Jimbo April 13 at 3:35 pm

    Wal-Mart in River North. Good Luck!

  4. audrey riggen April 13 at 3:37 pm

    i have lived on the north side of chicago all of my life. i love the large variety of independently owned shops. i have seen many a small shop run out of town,or business due to “big box” stores as in wal mart and target. where there is not a large variety of shops then yes “big box” stores make sense. keep wal mart out of rivernorth/wrigleyville etc..

  5. Erica April 13 at 3:56 pm

    Great location for parttime jobs and lowcost shopping for the MBI college students and others who live nearby…and some lower cost shopping for those of us who are being hit every day with major inflation in existing stores. I find it amazing how many people are opposed to competition in retail. It invariably brings better prices and service. Or perhaps they don’t remember how bereft of affordable retail River North was just 10 years ago. Welcome Wal-Mart…and any “mart” that wants to come into this area.

  6. Gina L April 13 at 4:00 pm

    I do not understand all the vitriol against Walmart. Have any of the naysayers actually ever shopped at one? You would find the same brand name items you find at Jewel, Dominicks, Walgreens, et al.

    If you don’t want to shop there, don’t. Walmart hasn’t grown to be the largest discount retailer by making poor business decisions.

    And if you want to pay a premium for, let’s say for example, hardware or lunch meat, then you’re free to continue to shop at the “independent” store. Walmart is not Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. They don’t try to be and they don’t need to be.

    I do not work for Walmart; I like to save money every day on groceries.

  7. Spike April 13 at 4:00 pm

    right across from the halfway house and methodone clinic….hmmm…

  8. JoeyB April 13 at 4:15 pm

    They don’t have the same brands as Walgreens – Walgreens is the onlt place you can get “Big Flats” beer, aka “Heaven in a can”.

  9. notowalmart April 13 at 4:26 pm

    “Walmart hasn’t grown to be the largest discount retailer by making poor business decisions. ”

    They have grown to be the largest discount retailer at the expense of their employees, the communities that they enter into, and you, the tax payer.

    Provide employees with basic benefits and a liveable wage, and maybe then I would consider shopping there. It’s your choice to ignore all of those things, look the other way, whatever you want to call it, and continue shopping there. Those of us with values will continue to patronize other (even large corporate) retailers.

  10. jason-j April 13 at 4:26 pm

    Many people, including myself, don’t want Chicago to look like a God-forsaken place like Schaumburg. Please keep these cut-rate chains out of the city.

  11. Trouble ahead? April 13 at 4:38 pm

    Not sure if anyone is noticing (boiling frog?) but from where I sit it appears as though many retail shops around north Chicago are slowly going out of business. Take a walk down Clark some night, or Clyborn, or Belmont, or Lincoln……and count how many vacant retail spaces you see. Granted, many of these bottom dwelling business probably deserved to go the way of the dodo, but, still, there’s a lot of retail space not being used. I now forgot what my point was.

  12. Gina L April 13 at 4:41 pm

    “Provide employees with basic benefits and a liveable wage, and maybe then I would consider shopping there.”

    I’ve got news for you — NO retailer provides a liveable wage for their employees — not Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Jewel or Dominicks (even though they are unionized) OR least of all your neighborhood store.

    Contrary to popular belief, Walmart and Target provide health benefit coverage, tuition reimbursement and opportunities for advancement. Can your neighborhood store provide these benefits? I didn’t think so.

  13. Jimbo April 13 at 4:47 pm

    Ya, I have shopped at a Wal-mart–am sorry and never will again.

    I have also seen three small local Chicago manufacturers go out of business because they were lured in by Wal-Mart’s misleading business tactics.

    Ya, I’m all for saving money…but not at the expense of eliminating the small businesses that were/are the building blocks of our communities.

  14. Jimbo April 13 at 4:53 pm


    Wal-mart has a distinct odor…smells like old french fry oil.

    I think Gina L. is a Wal-Marter from Arkansas!!!

  15. Muntz April 13 at 4:56 pm

    For those dismissing the idea of Walmart in River North, let it be known that Franklin/Chicago is a pretty sketchy corner (by RiNo standards) and only 3 blocks east of those Section 8 Rowhouses/Projects @ Chicago and Hudson. They will have plenty of business.

  16. RiNo April 13 at 5:02 pm

    Ya, that corner is pretty dismal. People will do what they want. Guess a Fox & Obel going in nearby is not gonna happen!

  17. Vishal April 13 at 5:08 pm

    Do you people *really* enjoy paying higher prices in the city? Items are typically 10-20% more expensive in the city than in the suburbs. So if the Waltons are able to provide items for less, then why not? If they’re of comparable price, then I don’t see the reason for opening such a store.

    But really, the old Pearl location? There’s limited street parking around there.

  18. Downtowner April 13 at 5:19 pm

    People are hilarious. I’ve watched Wal-Mart build stores in many communities and it goes down the same way everytime. People complain and complain about Wal-Mart and mount huge campaigns to try to prevent Wal-Mart from coming into their communities. When the store opens, thousands of people apply for jobs and the store is full of shoppers. People vote everyday on whether they want Wal-Mart to be in their communities by shopping there or somewhere else instead. If the folks in River North don’t want it, they can shop somewhere else.

  19. joe1 April 13 at 5:31 pm

    Support mom and pop stores. THEY are America. Not the looters of WMT and their greed. I think WMT needs a demographic study department. Wait. By the way they pay im think they are new grads. Only a new grad would do some bonehead move like put a cheap store like WMT in river north

  20. designer one April 13 at 6:19 pm

    When will the smart shoppers quit going to the slum called walmart. Everything is china in that place. There was a video a month ago about a giant ship of containers coming from china, and everything was for walmart. When the ship left nothing was being shipped from here.WAKE UP PEOPLE all this joint does is put other stores out of bussiness and import junk.

  21. bron009 April 13 at 7:08 pm


  22. truther April 13 at 8:09 pm

    Let’s see . . . it’ll be going into a space that’s been vacant for a year, right under the el tracks, next to some other vacant storefronts and lots, across from a meth clinic, and a block from a gas station in either direction. And people are upset that the Wal-Mart will ruin the neighborhood. Get real – the problem is how it is now, not what Wal-Mart might bring to the street.

  23. Bill DeBurgh April 13 at 8:27 pm

    I hope they sell ammo.

  24. Taxpayer April 13 at 9:51 pm

    I work for Wal-Mart and I am happy to say it. I have a job that does pay a fair wage,I have a great boss and I work close to our home. I can get insurance if I need it but my husband has it for us with his job.If I had to I could pay our mortgage on my own.

  25. chiDan Thursday at 1:25 a.m.

    Great, just what we need. Another convenience store. There is already 2 walgreens, 3 7-elevens, a circle k (shell) and a citco station in that neighborhood already.

  26. J-chi Thursday at 6:48 a.m.

    We need to stop this massive tsunami of Walmart trying to destroy of neighborhoods and drive out our small business. They aren’t need or wanted in Chicago. We need companies that pay a decent wage and provide growth for their employees. Less see right now there is a case that may make class action status of how Walmart is alleged to discriminate against women. There food is mainly processed and their clothes are made in China. Oh and by the way while their prices are less for some items they are the same or more for others….

  27. joesy Thursday at 10:36 a.m.

    All the little stores were gone when the bigger ones took over and you know who I mean, wallgreens and the other stores mom and pop stores were not cheap anyaway you have to buy in quanties to get a discount and they did not. another thing is CVS/PHARMACY is not unionized and only at this point hire part-time and no benefits and people still shop there and complain about the prices

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