Rural Americans weren’t too happy when Walmart rolled into town. Now it’s leaving them in the lurch
It’s closing more than 100 small stores, leaving towns in the lurch “We had a pharmacy and a perfectly satisfactory grocery”
The Town ’n Country grocery in Oriental, N.C., a local fixture for 44 years, closed its doors in October, unable to compete with a Walmart Express. Three months later—and less than two years after the Walmart arrived—the retail giant is pulling out, leaving Oriental with no grocery store and no pharmacy.
Mom-and-pop stores have steadily disappeared from many small communities across America over the past three decades as Walmart Stores methodically expanded. Now many of the Walmarts are disappearing, too, as part of the giant chain’s plan to shutter 269 outlets worldwide, leaving some towns with no grocery stores at all.
“I was devastated when I found out,” says Barb Venturi, mayor pro tem for Oriental, a retirement and summer vacation town along the intercoastal waterway with a population of about 900. Before the big retailer’s arrival,