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Arkansas Business reports that there’s a new Walmart Neighborhood Market open in the Pinnacle Hills section of Rogers, Arkansas – a 36,000 square foot store that is described as “a testing ground for some product offerings and concepts new to the Neighborhood Market brand. The layout is similar to the newest layout of some of the retailer's Supercenters, with lower shelves, wider aisles and brighter lighting.”

According to the story, the store features an “NM Café” that brews Starbucks coffee, a gelato service counter, a bakery with artisan breads, and a variety of environmentally friendly features.

The store is said to be appropriate to the local community, which is fairly up-market; it also is just a few miles away from Walmart headquarters in Bentonville. However, Arkansas Business notes that there have been a number of foreclosures in the area surrounding the new Neighborhood Market.
KC's View:
When I was in Bentonville a few weeks ago for the Walmart annual meetings, the general consensus seemed to be that this was going to be the nicest Neighborhood Market in the fleet. And it occurred to me that the Sam’s Club and Walmart Supercenter that I went to there also were the nicest I had seen – though, to be fair, I haven't seen all of them.

It hardly is unusual for companies (not just Walmart) to have their nicest stores somewhere near headquarters. After all, that’s where the corporate chieftains are and often where they (or their spouses or household help) shop. So people want the stores to look great.

In a lot of ways, though, it ought to be up to those same executives to identify stores that are the farthest from headquarters, and make sure that they are as good as the ones nearby. Maybe it is through frequent visits, or swapping personnel, or some other technique.