North Kingstowners may have a few more options on where to buy their groceries. A proposed expansion at the Walmart on Ten Rod Road could bring a full-service grocery department.
The grocery store is expected to feature a delicatessen, bakery, dry and frozen goods, meat and dairy departments, as well as fresh produce.
According to Alexandra Serra Dostie, a spokewoman for Walmart, the expanded store will not be a Super Walmart like those in Coventry and Westerly. The added features will include the new Walmart color scheme, wider aisles, wood flooring and in-store signage to assist shoppers. Additionally, Walmart is looking to increase the number of carriage corrals in the parking lot.
During last week’s North Kingstown Planning Commission meeting, a representative from the developer said the expansion would create 60 to 80 jobs. The store will be expanded by about 20,000 square feet. Because the store is already as wide is it can be due to the landscape, the expansion will take place in the back end of the store where the toy section is located.
For Wickford Junction owner Bob Cioe, the expansion would go hand-in-hand with the new train station.
“It would eliminate people driving all over town,” said Cioe. “The more functional stuff we add in that shopping the center, the better it will be … People getting off the train have a bank, a nail salon, a dry cleaners, a dentist, a restaurant and now they will have a market.”
The expansion would increase the store’s size to 143,000 square feet. The store was approved for up to 150,000 square feet in 1995 following a legal case regarding the town’s then-recently changed ordinance regarding big box stores.
As for the store’s proximity to Stop & Shop down the road, Walmart representatives are not concerned for either store.
“Neighboring grocery retailers often bring needed competition to the area and should not have an effect on our business or their business alike,” said Dostie.
In April 1995, developers submitted a master plan for the Walmart project. The next month, the town amended a zoning ordinance to cap the size of big box stores at 85,000 square feet — an ordinance still in effect today. An injunction issued by Washington County Superior Court got the plan back on course.