ORIENTAL, N.C. (WNCT) – A Walmart Express in Oriental is one of 269 stores around the world closing its doors.
Residents say they’re upset, after plans to close the Walmart that was hotly contested by the community only 2 years ago circulates through town.
“I really thought this Wal-Mart was doing well. The parking lot stays full all of the time,” Linda Caroon said.
Susan Gorton said, “I’m just very upset that they are closing down. I’m disappointed, I don’t understand it.”
The express store is expected to close at the end of this month, leaving no place for residents to shop for groceries or fill their prescriptions in town.
“The people will now have to travel at least 15 miles to get their groceries. We still have the Dollar General where we can get a loaf of bread and milk, but some of the meats we can’t get,” Gorton said.
Before the Walmart opened there were other locally-owned produce stores. Those locations closed shortly after Walmart opened its doors, unable to compete with the chain.
“They were open and were there for a long time but you just couldn’t compare the prices,” Gorton said.
“I think it’s sad that they had to go out of business when Walmart came,” Caroon said.
The express mart even has a gas station which makes two in town. Walmart employees say once the gas is out, they’re not re-fueling.
And while some have access to another store by car, others may not.
“There are people in the community that there only access is by bike and don’t have cars and the elderly who don’t have ways to get to Grantsboro,” said Gorton.
Both Caroon and Gorton say it’s going to be an inconvenience that they’ll have to get used to.