Grocery Stores, Including Walmart and Piggly Wiggly, Are Closing Locations
A Walmart location will be permanently closed after being shut down in Dec. 2022.
It feels like brick-and-mortar stores keep closing up shop as we rely more and more on online shopping exclusively. But even if you order your groceries virtually, it's still essential to have a nearby location where your food can be picked up by you or a delivery person. And then, of course, there's the fact that browsing the aisles is one of the best ways to stumble on a new favorite. Unfortunately for some shoppers, however, chains like Walmart and Piggly Wiggly, are closing locations, which could affect your next online order or grocery store trip. Read on to learn more about these upcoming closures.
READ THIS NEXT: JCPenney Is Closing Even More Locations, Starting Next Month.
Walmart just confirmed a permanent closure.
In late Dec. 2022, Walmart was forced to close two locations in Atlanta, Georgia, both due to fires. A store on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Vine City was the first to be shuttered when a fire was intentionally started inside the store, 11Alive reported.
A few days later, on Dec. 28, another fire was set in the clothing section of a nearby Walmart on Howell Mill Road, forcing a temporary closure. The future of the stores was at first uncertain, but now, Walmart has confirmed the fate of both metro Atlanta locations.
"After a thorough review of all factors related to our Vine City and Howell Mill Road stores, we have made the decision to reopen our Vine City location as a Walmart Neighborhood Market and permanently close our Howell Mill Road location," a spokesperson said in a statement to Best Life. "Unfortunately, a variety of economic headwinds existed at both stores before they were closed due to arson."
According to the spokesperson, site restrictions at the Howell Mill Road location prevent Walmart from repurposing the store, which is not the case with the Vine City location.
"Thanks to Mayor Andre Dickens and City Councilman Byron Amos, we will reopen the Vine City store as a Walmart Neighborhood Market to help meet the grocery and pharmacy needs of the community," the spokesperson said. "This will be our focus going forward."
The site of the Howell Mill Road store will be "repurposed."
Walmart confirmed it is working with city officials to "find a new use or business" for the site on Howell Mill Road, and affected employees will be offered employment at a nearby Walmart, the spokesperson said. Dickens also noted that the city is involved in the job placement process.
As for the Vine City location, the plan to reopen is welcome news for the community, WSB-TV reported, as residents previously expressed concerns about job losses and access to groceries if it were to close. "This is the news that we were hoping for," Dickens told the outlet, explaining that a closure would've created a "food desert," an area where residents don't have access to affordable, healthy food options.
"Food and nutrition security for Atlanta families is a moral right for our communities," Dickens said in a statement, provided by Walmart. "The intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive & Joseph E. Lowery Blvd is a nexus of multiple NW and SW Atlanta communities with seniors, children, students and thousands of individuals and households who already lack accessible options for fresh, affordable food."
Dickens confirmed that his team "engaged Walmart" to keep the store open, thanking Amos and his chief of staff for helping to ensure those in Vine City "have one added layer of food security they deserve."
Piggly Wiggly is nixing two stores.
Walmart isn't the only grocery store losing a location. In fact, two Piggly Wiggly stores are soon saying goodbye. Next month, a Piggly Wiggly in Lexington, South Carolina, will close its doors, per a Jan. 3 post on the store's Facebook page.
"We are sad to say our store will be closing on February 5th," the post reads, noting a sale on certain grocery items. "Thank you to all our loyal customers, we will miss you!"
Another location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also closing up shop, according to a letter from Piggly Wiggly Midwest to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The letter, signed by Senior Director Bob Sullivan, notes that "this action will be permanent, and the entire store will close." The store is located on East Capitol Drive, and employs a total of 52 employees. While the letter doesn't include an exact closure date, it does state that "employee separations" will begin on March 18, 2023.
In an email to Best Life, a spokesperson for C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. confirmed that Piggly Wiggly has both franchise-owned stores and corporate locations operated by C&S. In terms of the Wisconsin store, the spokesperson said the company typically doesn't comment on "structure changes."
However, they did note that "C&S continuously looks for ways to create value for our customers and accelerate our ability to deliver best-in-class services. We remain committed to satisfying our customers' needs to the fullest and are dedicated to taking the necessary actions to achieve our overall strategic priorities that drive our long-term growth."
A Missouri-based chain is closing one location.
A Sun Fresh Market in the Red Bridge Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri, rounds out the list of grocery store closures.
The store is owned by Balls Food Stores, which hasn't spoken publicly about the closing, according to The Kansas City Star. However, the location's landlord, Lane4 Property Group, confirmed that the store will shut down before the end of January, adding that that news of the closure was "unexpected."
Shoppers were surprised, too, telling Fox 4 Kansas City that the store is usually pretty busy. "You see the parking lot. There's always people there," customer Joseph Muhammed told the outlet. "I don't see it. I thought they were getting business. They get our business."
Best Life reached out to Balls Food Stores and Piggly Wiggly for comment on the closures, but has not yet heard back.