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Walmart to open Thursday at Tsawwassen Commons

150,000-square-foot store could have single biggest impact on South Delta's retail scene
Harj Purewal is the manager of the new Walmart at Tsawwassen Commons.

It’ll be a one-stop place to shop.

That’s how the manager of the new “super centre” Walmart at Tsawwassen Commons describes the store set to open Thursday.

“It’s going to offer a one-stop shop, so you can pick up your groceries that you would normally pick up once a week, but you can also pick up your socks or underwear or TV. It’s going to have everything,” said Harj Purewal, who gave the Optimist a tour of the 150,000-square-foot store.

The store on Tsawwassen First Nation land could have the single biggest impact on South Delta’s retail scene, which is already changing with last fall’s opening of Tsawwassen Mills as well as stores now coming on stream at Tsawwassen Commons across the street.

Walmart has been moving towards turning its existing stores into so-called super centres and any new stores are purpose built.

“It’s built from scratch. It’s a bright store with the full LED lighting and it’s also a very well designed store, designed to make it very easy for the shopper,” said Purewal.

Increased product selection and low prices are the aim but the biggest single feature of the super outlets is a full grocery store that includes not only canned and dry goods but a larger section of frozen foods, dairy and deli products, as well as produce. The Tsawwassen store won’t have a regular deli counter or bakery, though. About one-quarter of the store will be dedicated to the grocery component as the world’s largest retailer moves to make grocery items a “core” offering at Canadian locations.

The Tsawwassen Commons store will also have a garden section, toys, clothing, crafts, computers and electronics, shoes, bedding, linens, hardware, cosmetics, housewares and automotive — all typical of the bigger locations.

Unlike many other Walmarts, the Tsawwassen location won’t have additional features such as a McDonald’s or a place where you can get a haircut or eyeglasses. However, those might be added down the road, said Purewal.

The Walmart here will have a medical clinic, which can be accessed from the outside. The clinic will no doubt be a welcome addition for South Deltans still unable to find a family doctor and have few options as far as walk-in clinics. A pharmacy is next to the medical clinic.

The one-level store, which will have native art on its exterior to reflect the style of the rest of the 100-store Tsawwassen Commons, will employee around 150 people. It’s still accepting applications.

Purewal, who was previously the manager of a Walmart in Squamish, said all seven of the assistant mangers in the Tsawwassen store started as entry level employees and worked their way up.

TFN Chief Bryce Williams and an elder will offer a welcome song and prayer at 7:15 a.m. Thursday before the store officially opens at 8 a.m. There’s a special event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.