Whispers of a Walmart expansion, and even a Supercentre complete with a grocery store, have swirled in Yellowknife for months. For now, the rumours aren’t true.
Walmart headquarters dismissed the suggestion of an expansion when approached by Cabin Radio this week. “We have no current plans to convert the [existing Yellowknife] store to a Supercentre or relocate the store to a new location,” said Adam Grachnik, Walmart Canada’s director of corporate affairs, by email.
“We are pleased with the store and know customers are well served by the associates,” Grachnik said of the current store at 313 Old Airport Road.
For the past 25 years the store has served Yellowknifers – and NWT residents in general – looking for household items, electronics, clothing, and non-perishable foods.
City councillor Niels Konge said he has heard rumours of a bigger Walmart coming to Yellowknife ever since he moved to the city almost two decades ago.
Most recently, gossip in Yellowknife suggested a Supercentre – which would include current Walmart offerings alongside a full-service grocery store and garden centre – was on the way.
Several Alberta communities have Supercentres, including Vegreville (population 5,700) and Wainwright (population 6,200).
Terry Andre, who manages the present Yellowknife Walmart, believes there is definitely a market for a Supercentre in Yellowknife.
Yet with the “cost of building and the costs of transporting perishable goods,” she thinks creating one would be a tough move for the company to make.
“Of course it would be super welcomed if Walmart ever made the decision to build a brand-new building here, for sure,” said Andre, who has been the store’s manager since 2009.
She raises the idea with every Walmart president who visits her store, she added.