story by Kim Souza
The positive news keeps coming for Springdale, the city in the middle of the growing Northwest Arkansas region. Wal-Mart announced Friday (Aug. 1) plans to build a new Sam’s Club located near Arvest Ball Park at 58th Street facing U.S. 412.
"We are delighted to return to Springdale. Aside from the jobs, community giving that comes along with a new club opening is big. At Sam's we have a saying ‘Happy to help,’ and we are truly glad to bring Springdale a beautiful new Sam's Club," said Kurt Hess, regional marketing manager for Sam's Club.
This announcement comes two weeks before a new supercenter opens at Elm Springs Road and Interstate 49 and just a month after a new Neighborhood Market was announced by the retail giant near the new Don Tyson interchange and I-49.
“This is big for several reasons,” said Mayor Doug Sprouse. “There is the added tax revenue as a Sam’s Club would be a big gain for any city, but equally important is the new development near Arvest Ballpark for which we have waited patiently for some time.”
He said the timing of the Sam’s Club opening in 2016 will also coincide with the city’s 56th Street widening project to four lanes with a median from the Don Tyson Expressway beyond U.S. 412.
Sprouse said it’s hard to gauge the financial impact, but for Springdale to have one time had the only Sam’s Club in the region and lose it, this announcement is especially sweet. Sam’s Club, unable to secure a liquor license in Springdale in 2006, pulled out of the city and built a new club along I-49 – then I-540 – near the Arkansas 112 junction in northwest Fayetteville. A second club was completed in Bentonville in 2008 leaping over Springdale.
Spouse said the landscape has changed and the local population has grown since Sam’s left Springdale. Officials with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce also praised the news.
"There are great days ahead for Springdale. This has turned out to be a summer of good news for the city from downtown development, retail expansion and added jobs," said Bill Rogers, communications director for the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.
The typical Sam’s Club measures approximately 136,000 square feet, and includes a fresh bakery, tire and battery center, a café and a fuel station. The Springdale Sam’s Club store is expected to employ about 175 workers, a combination of part-time, full-time hourly and salary management.
Bentonville-based Sam’s Club will need no introduction in Springdale but local consumers might not realize that the if warehouse club stood on its own outside the umbrella of parent company Wal-Mart it would be the eighth largest retailer in the U.S. with $56 billion in annual revenue. That’s more sales than the Gap, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s rang up combined last year.
The retailer celebrated its 30th birthday in April 2013 and employs more than 110,000 workers in its 640 clubs. The clubs average more than $80 million in sales annually with a membership of some 47 million and growing.
Sam’s Club restructured its in-store management teams earlier this year eliminating 2,300 jobs, a move the retailer said was necessary to streamline operating costs in a challenging economic environment.
Sam’s plans to open 20 new clubs this year, including remodeled and expanded stores working to fill in markets where the retailer already has strong brand recognition. Last year Sam’s opened 12 clubs.