GRANT, Ala. (WHNT) -- A slew of Walmart stores are set to close across the nation as part of the company's "sharpened focus on portfolio management," and one of those stores opened just more than a year ago in the small town of Grant.
Walmart released that 154 stores across the United States will close. The U.S. closures included 23 Neighborhood Market stores. One of those is in Grant.
Mayor Larry Walker was told of the news several days ago. "They were closing not just this Walmart, it was no reflection on the particular store," says Walker. That is what a contact from the company conveyed to him in announcing the closure.
The store opened just over a year ago in the small town.
Walker says they don't want to see any business close, but at the same time he says several longtime local businesses offer the same services as the Walmart store, so there won't be any retail gaps after the closure.
Now the town is looking ahead.
The Kennametal plant in Grant announced its closure in 2015 and officially shut down late last year. The town is looking to fill that space, and can add the Walmart store space to the list of opportunities.
"There are so many items that you have to go out-of-town to purchase, and we would really like to see a business that would keep the buyers here in town," Walker explains.
The space is up for sale and Walker says the hope is a business will fill it that is unique to Grant. "We would like to see a business come in that would really benefit the town and also, it would help our tax base too, keep people buying locally," Walker says.
The employees from the store are going to be relocated to other nearby stores. It is set to close January 28th.
The company said 95 percent of the stores impacted are within 10 miles of another Walmart.