Local shoppers will soon have fewer retail options with the announcement Friday that Walmart will close its Brownfield store.
Company officials told the Brownfield News the local store, which opened in 1986 at 1405 Tahoka Road, will close its doors for the final time at midnight, January 31.
Walmart spokesperson Anne Hatfield told the News the company will not renew its lease in the Brownfield Plaza shopping center.
“Closing stores is never an easy decision,” she said. “This action comes after a careful review of a number of factors, including the financial performance of this store.”
Walmart officials also announced Friday that its store in Lamesa would close when that lease expires Oct. 31.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Hatfield said the Walmart “has no current plans” to develop a Supercenter in Brownfield.
“We have new stores in Seminole and Levelland and several in Lubbock that we would direct our customers to,” she said. “And we will continue to serve them online as well.”
The news is especially disheartening for the more than 80 associates currently employed by the local Walmart.The store’s employees were notified by managers and company officials Friday morning.
Hatfield said the company would try to transfer employees to other stores if they choose to stay with Walmart.
She said the company would assist employees with resumes and skills training and offer severance packages to eligible employees.
The effect of the store’s closure will be felt beyond the lost jobs and the convenience of shopping locally.
Walmart is a large customer of City utilities and also a prime generator of local sales tax revenue.Brownfield Mayor Tom Hesse was notified early Friday of the news by company officials.“I hate to see that happen, but I know we will be alright,” he said. “In the long run, it might be a blessing. This will open the doors for other companies to come in.”
Some local officials immediately went to work looking for new businesses after hearing the sad news.
“This is devastating news to our local retail landscape,” said David Partlow, director of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp. “It will lower the amount of sales tax the city collects, which is returned to local coffers by the state every year.”Partlow said he got busy as soon as he heard of the impending closure.“We’re going to do our best to find someone to fill that building,” he said. “I’ll work with our new marketing group that has a retail attraction arm to find a suitable business as soon as possible.”
Reaction to news of the store closing was swift on the Brownfield News Facebook page, ranging from outrage to sadness .The post announcing the news was shared more than 350 times and garnered hundreds of comments in just a few hours as word spread.
Article Courtesy of Brownfield News