New Walmart May Have Big-Box Effect in Joplin Tornado Zone

New Walmart May Have Big-Box Effect in Joplin Tornado Zone

About a hundred new jobs come to Joplin following the grand opening of new Walmart Neighborhood Market on Maiden Lane.

“This also restores a business out here on this end of town since we lost everything across from us South, so it should be a great, great location,” says Assistant Walmart Manager Larry Miller.

But the Neighborhood Market isn’t the only neighbor popping up in the tornado recovery zone.

“Walmart decides to build the new store and that’s when I decided I would go ahead and build back,” says Orthodontist Richard Joseph.

It’s taken more than four years, but Joseph says the big box store and other new projects spurred the construction of a new strip mall, where his office will be located.

“We had plans ready right after the tornado. Then I held off, so the construction just started this summer,” he says.

Kirstie Smith with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce says “We’ve seen it all over the community, for example when Academy Sports came back to town after the tornado that area grew up around it. That area where Walmart Neighborhood Market is, needs more development there. So this is a great way for the development to be attracted to the area.”

This Walmart has only been open for a few days but it’s parking lot is already buzzing with traffic. Many of the businesses we spoke with say they’re excited to see more customers down in this area.

“It’s definitely going to bring a lot more traffic through here, especially since a lot of people don’t know about this location because we haven’t been open very long,” says Worden’s Meat Cashier Sarah Alves.

But the business next door says Walmart has already taken over.

“I find it pretty excessive. Now we have four Walmarts instead of three, two pretty much Supercenters and a Neighborhood Market. I mean having four Walmarts with basically all the same things that we can get in all the other ones,” says Bamboo Chinese Take Out Cook Chris Tapia.

Joseph says he hopes to have construction of the new strip mall on 26th street finished by the fifth anniversary of the Joplin tornado, in May.