A new Wal-Mart superstore in Roseville meant lights out for the Wal-Mart in neighboring St. Anthony.
The Benton, Ark.-based retailer quietly shuttered its St. Anthony store on April 8, according to the city manager, hours before the grand opening of its Roseville store. The stores are 2.8 miles apart.
The big differences between the two locations: The new Roseville store is owned by Wal-Mart, has a full grocery section and is right off Interstate 35W at County Road C. In St. Anthony, Wal-Mart leased space and had signed an agreement limiting its grocery section to 10,000 square feet to avoid competing with nearby Cub Foods, according to city officials.
Wal-Mart has aggressively expanded in the north metro, opening new superstores with robust grocery sections in Brooklyn Center, Blaine and Andover in recent years. The retailer will be building another superstore with a full grocery section in Blaine, less than 2 miles from its existing store on Pheasant Ridge Drive, which also has restricted food sales because of a neighboring Cub Foods.
Still, the decision to close the St. Anthony store surprised some. That store, which opened in 2005, has a 20-year lease with Inland Commercial Property Management, appeared busy and was vital to the success of the shopping district, city officials said.
The Wal-Mart and Cub Foods co-anchored the Silver Lake Village shopping area, which includes a faux downtown lined with smaller shops. It was part of the massive redevelopment of the site of the former Apache Plaza, a 1960s-era shopping mall.
St. Anthony officials learned of the store’s closing when Wal-Mart declined to renew its tobacco license.
“I think they made a business decision. Whether we agree with it or not, it’s truly their decision to make,” said St. Anthony Mayor Jerry Faust. “We wouldn’t have been able to do Silver Lake Village without Wal-Mart coming in at the beginning. They added the synergy. But I am sure Inland will be able to fill the place.”
The shopping area currently includes several eateries, including Chipotle, Leeann Chin, Caribou and Fat Nat’s Eggs.
“They have all been resilient,” Faust said. “Someone is not going to pass up that opportunity.”
Inland declined to comment.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the St. Anthony location was successful and that the move to Roseville is considered an expansion.
“The decision to close the St. Anthony store was because we wanted to expand our services to customers. We have the opportunity to do that in Roseville,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Delia Garcia.
The 152,000-square-foot Roseville store offers “one-stop shopping” with a “full line of groceries,” Garcia said.
“We are marketing the St. Anthony property aggressively,” Garcia said. “It’s a site that’s proven successful. For a junior retailer or other tenants, it should be very attractive.”
The new Roseville Wal-Mart also represents a big push into competitor Target’s home turf. The first Target in the country opened in Roseville in 1962. There are 69 Wal-Marts and 14 Sam’s Clubs in Minnesota.