Barely six months after it opened, when we all got comfortable with picking up apples and avocados and enjoying the boost in sales tax to our town, Walmart is closing its brand new Express store in Luther.
It’s a corporate move and apparently is not personal against the town. Still, 30 persons are losing their jobs. Luther Express employees were told in Friday morning’s employee meeting. The store closes on January 28, 2016. Employees get 60-days severance pay.
A local public relations firm contracted to speak for Walmart in Oklahoma tells us that the move reflects a decision to close all of the pilot stores that are the “Express” model that offered food, gasoline and a pharmacy. Nearly 300 stores are closing world-wide.
The local PR rep told the Luther Register that the company intends to focus on its Supercenters and shut down all of the Express stores whether or not they were profitable. She’s finding out if our store in Luther was profitable.
Already at Josephine’s cafe in town, folks are shaking their heads at the news, but being optimistic, wondering if another store could be enticed to move into the soon-to-be-empty new facility. Just when we were all used to getting fresh produce and medicine without driving 20 miles. Think our Dollar General is having a good day? Perhaps the Mercantile downtown had a good day too. After all, the Mercantile is locally owned, and has been for 22 years.