Crawford County soon will see the construction of Walmart Express stores in two of its rural cities.
Cedarville and Mulberry both will have new Walmart Express stores offering groceries, general merchandise and pharmacies, likely by the end of the year.
Construction already has begun on the Walmart store at 3520 Mulberry Highway 64 West in Mulberry, while Cedarville Mayor Glenanna O’Mara said her city is still waiting for the multi-billion dollar corporation to break ground.
Walmart has purchased land at 8854 Arkansas 59, across Mill Pond Road from the city’s U.S. Post Office, to build the Cedarville store, O’Mara said.
"We haven’t had a full service grocery in some time," O’Mara said.
Walmart Express offers fresh produce and meat, and its pharmacy will compliment Cedarville School District’s wellness center, which opened Feb. 4.
Mulberry has a few convenience stores, but this will be the first full-service grocery open in the city for at least four years, said Mayor Gary Baxter. Both Cedarville and Mulberry have populations under 2,000.
Having Walmart in Mulberry will make it "much more convenient" for residents, who won’t have to drive to Ozark or Alma to shop, Baxter said.
Older or disabled residents who find it difficult to carry large amounts of groceries will be able to shop for fewer items more often, and residents also can use the company’s Site-To-Store service to order items online and have them shipped for free, Baxter said.
O’Mara and her family will use the store in Cedarville often once it opens, she said.
"Just the convenience of not having to drive [a lot] every time you need something will be nice," O’Mara said.
Both mayors agree that another perk of the stores are the job openings that will come with them.
"It’s always a good thing to increase the employee base in your community," Baxter said.
When asked about the estimated opening date for the Walmart, Baxter said that according to the contractor, residents "would be able to purchase their Thanksgiving turkey at the store."
Though O’Mara thinks construction on the Cedarville store will begin soon, she has no idea when it may open, she said.
According to Walmart’s corporate website, the Walmart Express stores are about 15,000 square feet and were created for urban and rural areas that lack access to larger stores.
There are only three open Walmart Express locations in Arkansas, in Gravette, Prairie Grove and Gentry.