New Walmart Express Opens with Mixed Reviews

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COLUMBIA - A new Walmart Express store opened its doors for business for the first time downtown Columbia Wednesday. Although managers are happy with the turnout on their first day open, some residents and business owners are worried about the effect it will have on small businesses.

The new store is on Ninth Street. It's a smaller format of the national chain. The Walmart has a full pharmacy, fresh groceries and merchandise tailored to college students and downtown residents.

Manager Farai Madzura said the day has gone extremely well for the new store.

"We have had a lot of people coming in to look around and saying a lot of positive things," Madzura said.

While most of the feedback in store has been commending the new Walmart on its convenience, some comments on social media have not been so favorable.

Robin Anderson said on Facebook, "Gross. Just what downtown como "needs": another corporation that provides STELLAR treatment to its employees and customers."

Ingredient is a restaurant that is also located on Ninth Street. General Manager Matt Porter, said even though the Walmart provides a different service than his restaurant, it may have an effect on his business.

"It might make it easier for the people downtown looking for a quick meal, they can just go get groceries, so that might take away a little bit," Porter said.

The new Walmart will be hosting a back to school event on Jan. 25. The store will also host an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the Columbia Area Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 15.