Walmart is days away from opening a Neighborhood Market-branded grocery store in Boulder and the retail giant is expected to do so with some opposition.
An organization of community members is organizing an "unwelcome party" for Walmart on Oct. 2, the same day as the grand opening of the new Neighborhood Market at 2972 Iris Ave. in the Diagonal Plaza.
Organizing the day-long protest is the Coalition for Social & Environmental Responsibility in Boulder, a group created by members of Occupy Boulder and Don't Big Box Boulder that earlier this year sent a packet of information and letters voicing concerns to Walmart's corporate headquarters in Arkansas.
Since that time, about three to 10 members of the organization have been meeting weekly to discuss further actions, said Matt Nicodemus, one of the group's organizers.
Nicodemus said his group's protest next week at Diagonal Plaza is expected to be a "positive, life-affirming event" and that there are no plans to shame customers or protest inside the store.
Adiena Holder, general manager of the Neighborhood Market in Boulder, said she is aware of the protest and that some Boulder residents have spoken in opposition of the store, but added that she believes the store will benefit a larger population.
"I understand they have a right to protest," she said. "I feel very different about this company."
During a media tour on Wednesday, Holder said the store would cater to budget-minded shoppers. Some Boulder residents, she said, have told her they travel to Longmont or Broomfield for lower-priced goods.
Adding Walmart to the mix of retailers in Boulder would bring sales tax revenue back to the city, she said.
As Holder walked around the 53,500-square-foot store, she made note of elements and offerings of the Neighborhood Market that could make it attractive to potential customers.
By design, the Neighborhood Market is "convenience-focused" with sections such as a grab-and-go deli and a layout that puts certain items -- including staples such as bread and milk -- in close proximity, she said.
The Boulder location also will be the first Neighborhood Market in the state to have an island with a variety of cheeses, she said, adding that the store also will have a bulk foods section and an increased amount of gluten-free products.
This extends to natural and organic products, she said, adding "we're trying as much as we can" to have a wide selection of organic produce. Holder said she could not speak to the percentage of organic produce as the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy items have yet to arrive and will be the last stocked for the grand opening.
"We're really trying to tailor it to this community as much as we can," she said.
The Boulder community, however, also consists of residents and city officials not too fond of Walmart's arrival.
Deputy Mayor Lisa Morzel told the Camera earlier this year that Walmart was "completely disingenuous" after company officials said they were not trying to hide their efforts in opening a grocery store at Diagonal Plaza. Documents submitted for the store contained little identifying information about the occupant and Walmart did not return several calls for comment from the Camera throughout 2012.
Morzel, an opponent of Walmart's past efforts to open a Supercenter in Boulder, added that, "I really hope people vote with their pocketbooks and really do not support this store."
Fellow City Council member Macon Cowles said earlier this year that he was concerned about the potential economic effect on local businesses and workers, while noting that some members of the community would want to shop at Walmart because of lower prices.
"It's a Faustian bargain," Cowles told the Camera in January.
Morzel and Cowles could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Walmart's Holder said the backlash from some members of the community is greater than she's seen at other stores in her seven years with Walmart, but said she wants the local store to be a good citizen.
Walmart is a member of the Boulder Chamber and she said she has spoken with city officials about any past concerns.
"I just want to be the best neighbor we can be," she said.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.