Walmart has made the decision to close their Neighborhood Market, located at 1794 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg's Midtown area.
The store will close its doors on March 3 and the store's pharmacy will close on February 1.
“I mean we are going to have a loss. It was a convenient place for me. I like the prices,” said customer Ken Wooten.
“I guess it’s not making the money that they are expecting it to. I don’t know what they should do, maybe they should have a band up there paying to bring more people up here,” said customer Bruce Davis.
“As we try and turn these neighborhoods around one of the essential issues is you need a decent grocery store,” said city commissioner Karl Nurse.
Nurse said this all came as a surprise, and they didn’t know about the shutdown until they got the call this morning.
“Clearly Walmart could have stayed there. Big business. It’s pretty brutal and it’s just dollars and sense. It’s not Sam Walton anymore,” said Nurse.
The store employs more than a hundred workers.
Wal-Mart said they will work with transferring them to other locations.
But people in this community said the real problem behind the shutdown comes down to have the money to spend here.
“In this area you have to have more jobs that can support stores like this,” said Wooten.
The retail giant released the following statement on the store closing:
“After a careful and thoughtful review process, we have made the difficult decision to close our Walmart Neighborhood Market on 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg.
We have been, and will continue to be, supportive of our local store leadership and associates, and this decision is in no way a reflection of their hard work and customer service over the last three years. This decision is based on a number of factors, including financial performance and strategic alignment with long-term plans.
We operate more than 360 Walmart Stores and Sam’s Clubs in Florida and we’re committed to continuing our growth and investment in the state. We opened 18 stores in Florida in 2016, creating more than 3,000 new jobs across the state. Over the next year, we plan to open several more stores, continue to innovate our business, invest in e-commerce and continue to improve our existing stores by remodeling more than 40 locations across the state, including in St. Petersburg.
The 22nd Street South store will close to the public on Friday, March 3rd. The Pharmacy will close to the public on Feb. 1. Our pharmacy staff will work with customers to transfer prescriptions to another convenient location.
We care deeply about our associates impacted by this decision. Whether with Walmart or elsewhere, the company’s objective is to help affected associates find their next career opportunity.
We are hopeful that many of the associates at the 22nd Street South store will want to continue their career with Walmart by transferring to another location. In the event they would like to pursue another career opportunity, all associates will be offered resume and interview skills training.
We commend Former Mayors Rick Baker and Bill Foster, Mayor Rick Kriseman, Commissioner Ken Welch, Senator Darryl Rouson and Representative Wengay “Newt” Newton, among many others, for the work they have done to create a business friendly climate that’s encouraging continued growth and investment both in Midtown and across the city.
We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them at this location. We look forward to continuing to serve them at other area locations and online at walmart.com.”
The store opened 3 years ago to many excited and anxious shoppers. The store brought jobs to many in the area and a much needed grocery store for those living nearby.
Walmart says financial performance is one of the factors that helped make the final decision.
Mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, shared his disappointment in the decision on his Facebook page Tuesday morning. He said:
We are incredibly disappointed by Wal-Mart's decision to close their 22nd Street S store. In light of the City’s pursuit of Tangerine Plaza and our ability to incentivize Wal-Mart’s remaining, we are hopeful that they will revisit this decision. However, anticipating their closure, we will work closely with them to ensure their employees are placed at other Wal-Mart locations. While I join in the frustration many of our residents will feel, this may be an opportunity to secure a tenant that can successfully self-perpetuate or create an amenity that better serves the wants and needs of the surrounding community. - RK