Walmart opens in tech square

Photo by John Nakano

Walmart on Campus, which opened Aug. 14, is located in Tech Square. At 2,500 square feet, it will be stocked with basic items intended to meet the needs of college students.

“A pharmacy will be the anchor for the store with a wide range of convenience, drug store and grocery items,” said Rich Steele, Senior Director of Auxiliary Services. “The grocery section will be slanted to meet the needs of apartment dwellers with some frozen foods, refrigerated foods, paper products and quick preparation meals.”

Not only is Tech’s Walmart the smallest in the nation, but it is also only the second university to test this new Walmart format after the University of Arkansas.

Tech was chosen, in part, because of Walmart’s connection with Tech, as the CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke, is a Tech alumni.

“In this case, the city of Atlanta and Georgia Tech have close ties to executive leadership at Walmart which may have generated interest in making our store one of the first to open,” Steele said.

Tech was also chosen as one of the first locations due to the success of other businesses in Tech Square.

“Technology Square is a highly successful retail destination which is attractive to any brand focused on our demographic,” Steele said.

Pricing at the new Walmart will be the same as a Walmart supercenter.

“Walmart on Campus has Walmart Supercenter pricing in a Convenience store setting. This is rare of course, normally one expects to pay a higher price for the convenience of a smaller store. It will be interesting to see if Walmart maintains this pricing model as the format grows,” said Jason Long of Shift Marketing Group.

Students are also enthusiastic about the opening of Tech’s Walmart.

“I’m so excited. I think it will definitely replace stores like Eastside Market because it has a lot more to offer and lower prices,” said Andrew Arencibia, a second-year BMED major and one of the first Walmart customers.

“[Walmart has] pretty much everything I will need for college, so that is exciting. I don’t have to go off campus to get stuff anymore either,” said Anthony Brown, third-year Business major and also one of the first customers.

Some students do have ideas for improvements, however.

“They could improve on inventory management maybe; we kind of bought half of the supplies we needed [but couldn’t buy] paper towels,” said Brown.

Some students are also disappointed that the Walmart will not accept BuzzCards.

It’s expected that Walmart will build more campus stores across the nation, provided that the Tech location does well.

“The performance of the Tech store will be watched closely by Walmart Executives to determine if the format has legs… I expect to see Walmart expand this concept further onto college campuses, in urban areas, etc. Walmart Campus stores seem to make a lot of sense on the surface,” Long said.

Tech’s Walmart is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.