Wal-Mart replaces Garland Hypermart with first 'Hispanic community' store By MARIA HALKIAS The Dallas Morning News 12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 GARLAND – Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s original Hypermart USA, the precursor to its successful food and general merchandise Supercenter concept that catapulted it into becoming the world's largest retailer, closes today. When it opened in 1987, the huge store on Garland Avenue with a red, white and blue exterior reportedly had 40,000 people come through on the first day. Shoppers didn't know whether they wanted to buy a garden hose and doormat together with bacon and eggs at the same checkout. That question has long since been answered, and now Wal-Mart is replacing that historic store with a new location it's calling its first "Hispanic community" store. With an estimated 14 percent of its U.S. shoppers being Latino, Wal-Mart in recent years has been tailoring stores, such as its I-30 and Cockrell Hill location in Dallas, to meet the needs of Hispanic families. It has added specialty bakery items, expanded varieties of chile peppers, printed store signs and advertising circulars in Spanish and last year stocked baby Abuelita dolls for Three Kings Day celebrations. But the new Garland store at 1801 Marketplace Drive is the first designed from the ground up to meet the needs of Hispanic shoppers, said Daniel Morales, regional spokesman for Wal-Mart. As with the old store, the new store's customer base is more than 50 percent Hispanic, he said. Wal-Mart says that more than 1,000 of its stores are in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. The new Garland store features expanded do-it-yourself departments in paint, garden and auto. It has the chain's first kids furniture department, first drive-through garden center loading area and first bakery equipped to make corn tortilla chips from scratch, said store manager Daryl Scoggins, a Garland native who returned home to run the new store. It is the first to stock several brands from Mexico such as Fud lunch meat and cheeses and Bonafont soft drinks. Latino brands found in other stores such as Topo Chico, Barrilitos and Jarritos are carried in greater quantities and varieties in this store, Mr. Scoggins said. A Flor de Michoacan juice bar and ice cream shop is located in the front of the store, and Latino models are featured in large lifestyle photos of families throughout the store. The infant and toddler department is one of the largest in Texas, he said. The store has a new "events" department at its entrance that will be stocked to match the season or holiday. It opens Wednesday with everything a family would need for a picnic, from flip-flops and sunscreen to mustard, ketchup, paper plates and hamburger buns. The Hypermarts date to 1986, when Wal-Mart formed a joint venture with Dallas-based Cullum Cos., which at the time operated Tom Thumb supermarkets. The joint venture opened a second Hypermart USA in Arlington at I-20 and Cooper Street in 1988. Separately, in 1988, Wal-Mart opened a smaller store in Washington, Mo., that was the first it called a Supercenter. The two Hypermarts were later rebranded as Supercenters.