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Bishops Corner Pulls in Two National Retailers

Companies poised to begin Northeast expansions in the revamped Bishops Corner Shopping Center.

The re-energizing of Bishops Corner is about to take a giant leap forward with the announcement Wednesday of two national tenants moving into the Edens property on the southwest corner of North Main St. and Albany Ave. Plans for the renovation and revitalization of this shopping center were unanimously approved by the West Hartford Town Council last spring.

The largest new tenant, “Neighborhood Market by Wal-Mart,” will open by late 2012 in the long-vacant 50,000 square foot space once occupied by Adams Supermarket. The adjacent parking garage will be demolished this spring, paving the way for additional site improvements.

According to Jodie McClean, President and Chief Investment Officer of Edens, Neighborhood Market is not to be confused with a big box store. “The Neighborhood Market is a grocery store only and will offer the same brand name goods and products that are offered in West Hartford’s other traditional grocery stores. It will offer fresh produce, groceries, and household goods from familiar brand names and local producers,” McClean said via email.

Customers should expect goods to be sold at “great everyday value,” and as the opening nears, the company will determine the final layout and inventory of local products, McClean said. According to a release issued by Edens, Neighborhood Market plans to hire more than 100 new full and part-time employees.

There are currently 181 Neighborhood Market stores nationwide, but the West Hartford store will be the first in Connecticut as well as the first venture into the northeast. The nearest store is in Washington, D.C.

Director of Community Services Rob Rowlson said he is “very, very happy about Neighborhood Market.” Rowlson is pleased that a new market is occupying the former market space, and also that Neighborhood Market will be offering brand name products at a discount.

“It’s good for the regeneration of the plaza, and the competition is good for the neighborhood,” Rowlson said. He has reviewed photos of other Neighborhood Market stores, and is pleased with their upscale appearance.

Although the style of Neighborhood Market may not fit the typical mold of a traditional big box Wal-Mart store, it will offer the reasonable pricing that customers of the discounter have come to expect. “Wal-Mart is a very good retailer, and they have always delivered a good product at a competitive price. I think you’ll definitely find me doing some of my shopping there,” said Rowlson.

In addition to Neighborhood Market, a franchise of a national family-style restaurant will open next to in the Bishops Corner Shopping Plaza this spring. Noodles & Company, which began in Colorado in the mid-1990s, will also begin its northeast expansion with the opening of the West Hartford restaurant. Currently, the closest locations are in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.

According to their website, Noodles & Company offers “noodles, sandwiches, and salads from around the world.” The focus, not surprisingly, is on all different types of noodles, with an emphasis on American, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines. The cost of an average meal in the family-style restaurant is just $7.00, according to the website.

“I love noodles from every culture in the world – always have,” said Rowlson, who believes Noodles & Company will quickly become a West Hartford mainstay.

Other plans for the shopping center’s redevelopment are moving forward in accordance with the plans approved by the Town Council last spring.

Edens focuses on development and redevelopment with an emphasis on creating neighborhood gathering spaces, and the company is following that plan for Bishops Corner. “We are excited about re-energizing the Bishops Corner neighborhood with the redevelopment of the center. We will have several well designed and intimate gathering spaces for neighbors to meet and reconnect as well as hand picked best of class local and unique retailers that will be reflective of the community,” McClean said in the release.

Those tenants include Sacred Movement Yoga Studio, which opened next to iParty in January, and DotCom Wines which will relocate to the former Barnes & Noble space this spring. New England Integrated Health Associates, which focuses on natural and nutrition-based approaches to health and wellness, held its grand opening in late January.

Marshall’s has signed a new long-term lease and will be remodeling the interior of the store this year, and Bank of America has also signed a new long-term lease according to Edens.

Edens also reported that façade work has been completed on the exterior of Marshalls and will continue in other areas of the shopping center. Other site improvements are ongoing as well.

Rowlson is thrilled that two national organizations have chosen West Hartford to begin their Northeast expansion plans. “It shows that we’ve been doing the right things all along, and that we are a very good market. I’m very proud to say that we’re a cut above,” said Rowlson, who also views this news as a good overall indicator of the economy’s improvement.

Future updates can be found through the Bishops Corner Neighborhood Association Facebook page www.facebook.com/bishopscorner, or by following @BishopsCorner on Twitter. More information about Edens can be found at www.edens.com.

Andrew A June 01, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Invite Wal-Mart and there goes the neigborhood as they say.... Pajamas seem to be acceptable attire when shopping there.
Sarah Raskin October 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM
About 12 percent of the 3,044 federal court lawsuits against Walmart since 2009 involved issues with employment, according to data by Bloomberg. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/meredith-boucher-walmart_n_1959072.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009
Sarah Raskin October 17, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Fun facts on WalMart for all you WalMart lovers: 80% of WalMart workers are on food stamps Store employees receive 2.66 billion in government aid each year So, WalMart pays so little that we as taxpayers foot the bill in food stamps, medicaid, etc., while the Waltons get rich. Walmart founder Sam Walton once said, "We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment." Now do you understand where those low prices come from?
Ronnie October 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM
When I was laid off in 2009 and unemployed for 2.5 years I learned the value of my grocery dollar. It was actually worth the drive to the Super Walmart in Wallingford to buy my groceries. When it's your survival you do what you have to do. Only the cushy comfortable people can afford to worry about how Walmart makes its money. I'm just happy it was there and I was able to benefit from it when I needed it the most. If not for that, Aldi and Price Rite I don't know how I would have survived. Now I am thrilled to hear that a grocery Walmart is coming so close to me. Even though I am working now I am still strapped for money after all that time being unemployed, plus I am not making the money I made pre-recession and prices have gone up. So to me, the Walmart is a godsend. Now I can stop driving to Wallingford, although I was able to get much cheaper gasoline there, so it made the trip worthwhile. To all you food snobs - This Walmart will be just like any other supermarket only cheaper. It's not sub-standard but it's not Whole Foods either. And to all you complainers about how it will put other businesses out of business, that's the law of survival in the retail world. If you don't like it perhaps you should admit that you're really Socialists and not Republicans in name only.
Petra Mulero January 27, 2013 at 10:52 PM
I respect everyone opinion,I am a single mom with 4 children been unemployed for about a year while been out of work I went back to school to improve my educación and still in the process in reaching my goals.I have to thank walmart for giving me the oppourtunity to join there team and be part of the walmart neighborhood market and I know there are other stories like mines thank you for helping the economy by bringing jobs to are community.

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