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Walmart Closes Express Store in Oriental
The Timeline: Two Weeks and... Gone
January 31, 2016
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Saturday, January 16

8:10a The town awakens wondering about the grocery future. This is an opportunity for a local grocery store to return. Will a grocery open to fill the one-stop full-service void? Would it be in the old T&C building or someplace smaller?

Will Walmart pay Oriental the $1,300 it owes the town? Walmart agreed to make an annual payment (instead of property taxes as it was outside the town limits) for the town services it enjoyed. Water. Police. Walmart was here in parts of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Logically, it’d owe that payment times three. But the Town only sought it for the first time last year. Bottom line, though is the Town’s received nada, bupkes.

There is some local chatter suggesting Dollar General is closing. There appears to be no substance to that at all. Dollar General is adamant they will remain.

Here is some good local food news. Sandie Beal is selling fresh produce at this morning’s Farmers’ Market on Hodges Street.

Meanwhile, the Provision Company on Hodges Street is expanding its grocery offerings.

The previously planned meeting re an Oriental Food Initiative Jan 27 takes on new significance.

9:48a More letters have been coming in on the WalMart Express living up to its name – coming and now, going like an express train. You can read the letters here and send one of your own to us at letters@towndock.net (All points of view welcomed, just no name calling…)

12:40p TownDock contacted Renee Smith, former manager of the Town-n-Country about the closing of the WalMart Express. The story is here..

Sunday January 17

12:50p The Walmart store closing has some letter writers looking ahead to what might rise from the ashes of Oriental soon having no grocery and two abandoned grocery buildings.

And, some readers write in to take the 2013 Town Board to task for not negotiating better on the Town’s behalf back then. Some writers even do both. Check ‘em all out, here in TownDock.net’s Letters To The Editor.

Wednesday January 20

Letters to the Editor on the WalMart closing keep coming in. Among the recently posted, hopes for a new store to set up shop and, a suggestion that Oriental’s experience may be of interest to a bigger, national news outlet. Also a former Town Commissioner defends the way the Town Board acted in the fall of 2013 as it accommodated Walmart’s arrival in Oriental..

If you are new to Oriental’s saga with Walmart, or even if it’s not so new to you, this account of an October 2013 Town Board meeting may be of interest. The issue at hand back then: Walmart’s request to tap on to the Town’s water system even as it refused to be annexed in to town. (It’s not really a spoiler to say, Walmart got its way.)

Also part of the mix at that October 2013 meeting were the dismissive and accusatory comments two Commissioners directed at those who opposed Walmart.

graffiti being painted over
Graffiti going away. In a photo taken Wednesday afternoon, Mike Vardy and Lance Burgos (with permission) paint over the graffiti at the closed Town n Country building. Another step in the recent ongoing saga of grocery store life in Oriental.

Thursday January 21

6a The grafitti is gone on the front of the Town-n-Country. Two residents yesterday spent over an hour painting the entire front black.

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Posted Sunday January 31, 2016 by Melinda Penkava

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