An Atlanta Walmart Supercenter store that was temporarily shuttered due to suspected arson is reopening next year. When it does, it may have an Atlanta Police Department substation inside.
The Vine City location is eyeing a reopening in mid-2024. Walmart told FOX Business that it “consulted with key stakeholders and elected leaders while planning the redesign of our Vine City location, and providing a designated workspace for local police is among changes being considered.”
The store was temporarily closed after it caught fire in December 2022. Immediately following the fire, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens vowed to reopen the store to ensure that all the city’s residents “have fresh, affordable food within a half mile of their homes.”
The store sits in a nexus of multiple “Atlanta communities with seniors, children, students and thousands of individuals and households who already lack accessible options for fresh, affordable food,” Dickens said in a prior statement.
Walmart said that there was “no single reason” behind this decision and that this addition isn’t new to its stores.
“Providing local police with a workspace inside stores isn’t a new feature, and we see efforts like what’s being considered for our future Vine City store as a way to better collaborate with law enforcement and support the community,” Walmart said in a statement.
However, the addition comes amid a trying time for the retail industry. Retails nationwide have suffered mounting losses due to organized retail theft. According to the latest figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF) these losses have totaled $100 billion.
A growing number of retail executives continue to plead for help as organized retail crime continues to threaten company profits and the safety of guests and employees. Many have argued that they can’t solve this issue alone.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said last month that the company is looking for help from the local level.
“We do think that in some jurisdictions here in the U.S., there needs to be action taken to help protect people from crime, including theft,” McMillon told investors.