Plans for a Brooks Grocery in West Tupelo are still in the works and have not been abandoned.
Rumors have circulated recently that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to to build three of its smaller-format stores nearby, including two within a relatively short distance of the proposed Brooks Grocery store. Speculation has been that the Brooks store will not be built.
But Brooks Davis, the owner of the store, said, “I don’t make decisions based on rumors. As far as I’m concerned, until I hear something official, we’re still planning to build the store.”
Last month, Iuka-based Brooks Grocery broke ground on a 27,000-square-foot supermarket, with plans to open next spring on the corner of West Jackson Extended and Coley Road near the Tupelo Furniture Market
But the Walmart rumors have fueled speculation that the store will not open because of Walmart’s supposed plans.
Davis has heard the same things, but reiterated that his plan will continue until he hears differently.
Walmart did not immediately respond to a request from the Daily Journal.
However, the city’s Development Services director, Shane Hooper, confirmed that Walmart has made preliminary inquiries about the permitting process in Tupelo. Hooper said the company is looking at building three Walmart Neighborhood Market stores in the city, but declined to say where they are.
“Nothing has been decided, and nothing has been written in stone,” Hooper said, adding that the company has not filed anything with the city officially.
Wal-Mart has said it plans to open as many as 300 small-format Walmart Express and Walmart Neighborhood Market stores across the country this year. The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and the company now has about 300 of them across the country.
The smaller-format stores include a grocery with fresh produce, health and beauty aids, pet products, cleaning supplies and a pharmacy.
They are about a quarter the size of a Walmart Supercenter, which typically are 120,000 to 180,000 square feet. Neighborhood Markets are about 38,000 square feet, and a typical Walmart Express is about 12,000 square feet, about the size of a dollar store or drugstore.
The proposed Tupelo Walmart Neighborhood Markets would be about 42,000 square feet, Hooper said.