Vine City reopens Walmart burned down in 2022 arson

Vine City, in the heart of Atlanta’s west end, is close to pretty much everything. But for the last year and a half, the community has become a food desert after it lost its only grocery store. On Wednesday, the Walmart that burned down in 2022 will reopen on Martin Luther King Junior Drive.

"We really need it in Vine City because we have no grocery store around here," said nearby resident Precious Mikaela.

She says ever since arson forced Walmart to close the store back in 2022, she has had to take public transit to get groceries.

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"Vine City area has literally gone through it because we had to go all the way out of the city for another Walmart," Mikaela said.

After the fire, Walmart initially decided to shut the store down, but after community outcry, the company changed its tune. Instead, it turned the ‘Supercenter’ location into a smaller ‘Walmart Neighborhood Market’ which opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

"I hope it's packed tomorrow, day after tomorrow, the day after that," said District 3 Atlanta Councilman Byron Amos.

Councilman Amos lives in this community and worked with the mayor to keep Walmart here.

"How excited are you that they're finally reopening this store tomorrow?" FOX 5 asked Amos.

"I'm very excited, very excited," he responded. "I know my neighbors are excited, and we're ready to move forward."

While it won’t carry everything it used to, it will still have groceries and household supplies. It will also have a pharmacy which has been an obstacle for Vine City’s oldest community members.

Councilman Amos hopes access to fresh food benefits everyone.

"When we talk about the historical negative effects of not having a healthy option when it comes to feeding children, our neighborhoods have always suffered from that, so this store actually gives us the opportunity to begin to turn some of that around," he said.