Bootheel mayor, residents 'devastated' by closing of Walmart - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Bootheel mayor, residents 'devastated' by closing of Walmart

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

More than 100 Walmart employees at Caruthersville and Piedmont, Missouri locations received pink slips on Friday, October 21.

The stores announced they would be closing at the start of 2017.

The Caruthersville Walmart has been there for nearly 40 years and the news of its closing left many people including the mayor wondering why.

“Well, pretty devastated,” Mayor Mike McGraw said.

That's how the mayor said he felt after having a meeting with a Walmart exec.

“I knew it was going to be really, really good or really, really bad," he said. "Unfortunately, it was the bad."

Walmart decided not to renew its lease at the Carutherville location, leaving the small town without its largest department store and 85 employees searching for new jobs.

A Walmart spokesperson said they plan to help the workers find a new job or offer a severance package.

Area residents on the other hand will just have a find a new place to shop.

“It really sucks," shopper Rob Lulinski said. "I mean there’s always people here shopping until the time that they close, people need the pharmacy that’s close by, there’s other pharmacies, but Walmart even has lower prices than that.”

“A place like this and even this place it closes at 10 o’clock, and once that happens, it’s dead," shopper Michael Tillmon said. "You cant get anything until morning, so once this place is gone completely we are toasted, this town is gone.”

Tillmon said he believes things will only get worse, so he plans to move his family away.

“The economy is pretty bad here as it is, without Walmart I just think it will take a nose dive," he said. "I just think it’s going to get awful. In fact, I’ll be surprised if it didn’t turn into a ghost town.”

That’s why Mayor McGraw said he plans to act quickly.

“I’m calling on a number of community leaders to meet with me to find out what their ideas are about the future of Caruthersville,” McGraw said.

The mayor is not sure exactly when those meetings will take place.

In the meantime, he plans to help the employees find new jobs.

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