Walmart revives struggling Novi Town Center

Posted on August 15, 2012

When Walmart opens its new store in Novi on Wednesday, the repositioning of Novi Town Center as a vibrant patch on the city’s busy retail corridor along I-96 and Novi Road will be cemented.

It marks the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer’s 82nd supercenter in Michigan. And it brings 300 new jobs to the area — all but about 30 already filled. The 24-hour store at 26090 Ingersol Drive opens to customers at 8 a.m.

On a tour Monday, the store appeared all ready to open. The 80-inch TV was in place in electronics, the potatoes were being unloaded in grocery and the concrete floors were shiny all around.

Opening events include product giveaways and some special door-buster type sale items, said store manager Aaron Quimby. The items will be advertised on an in-store flyer, he said.

The 460,000-square-foot center, which sits on the opposite side of I-96 from Twelve Oaks Mall, is being repurposed after losing big tenants in financial distress such as Mervyn’s, Comp USA and Borders.

To build the Walmart store, several buildings were demolished, including the former Mervyn’s and the movie theater.

The 152,888-square-foot Walmart supercenter sits at the back of the center on 12.8 acres. Its 665-space parking lot stretches out in front of it and two orderly rows of stores.

The announcement that Walmart would open a store at the center was the impetus for redeveloping the center and opening up the layout.

“The Town Center was pretty empty. A lot of retailers started moving back in,” Quimby said. “That was basically sparked when we moved in because they knew we would generate traffic to the Town Center again.”

A number of new stores opened at the center this summer, including ULTA Beauty Store, Plato’s Closet, Great Clips, Bath & Body Works and Golfsmith. TJ Maxx was remodeled. More stores such as Dots and Rue 21 are expected to open in the coming weeks.

The privately owned center is managed by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis.

Quimby said the store has some differences from a typical Walmart to cater to tastes of the local market including an expanded sporting goods department with camping gear, kayaks, hunting and fishing gear and treadmills. It also has Japanese and Middle Eastern food in Aisle 10.

The store has a garden center, pharmacy, hair salon, a Taco Del Mar restaurant, a full grocery department including a bakery, deli, produce and dairy.

By: Greta Guest, The Detroit Free Press