IRONDALE, AL (WBRC) - A major financial hit tonight for the city of Irondale after Walmart announced its closing its Sam's Club.
Car after car driving up to the Sam's Club Thursday only to find out it abruptly closed for the day so the company could break the news.
"It's kind of shocking to me," Katheree Hughes, a Sam's shopper said. "I was of the opinion that they were doing well. And with the employment level being so low in Alabama, I was surprised because I thought they were doing well.
We're told the city of Irondale didn't get a heads up about the sudden closure that's sure to have a big financial impact. We're told the city relies on over a million dollars in sales tax revenue from the store.
"Certainly a shock for the families that are affected with jobs. We had about 138 employees here and then also course the revenue to the city. It will be a huge revenue loss to the city," Mayor Charles Moore said.
Thursday evening, city leaders met to discuss what to do next. We're told some city projects will more than likely be put on hold because of the closing news.
"We've received a commitment from Walmart that they will work aggressively to market the property to other businesses. We don't know what that will look like.There's certainly a lot of interest in Irondale at this point so we're hoping that in spite of the disappointing news of Sam's Club not being there that we can bring in other businesses," Moore said.
In a statement, Walmart says action was taken after a thorough performance review.
"Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam's Clubs that are fit for the future," said John Furner, president and CEO of Sam's Club. "We know this is difficult news for our associates and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations. Our focus today has been on those associates and their communities, and communicating with them."
Walmart says it will convert some of the Sam's Clubs into e-Commerce centers that will hopefully speed up online orders. The company is providing support for the affected employees by giving them 60 days of pay and severance.
We're told the Irondale store will officially close on January 26 and employees will lose their jobs on March 16. The store is one of over 60 stores closing nationwide.