Walmart Closure Brings Frustration For Luther Residents
LUTHER, Oklahoma - Community members in Luther are upset over news the only Walmart in town is set to close. It is one of six stores set to close in Oklahoma on January 28.
“It’s just rude. It’d been better if they’d never even come,” said resident Jennifer Edmunson.
It opened about eight months ago and has been somewhat of a lifeline for residents in this small town.
“I can get fresh avocados! I can get organic milk!” Edmunson said.
It is the only place in Luther offering fresh produce and meats. And it houses the only pharmacy in Luther.
“It’s bad. I live six miles down the road so we gotta go ten miles that way or 17 miles that way,” Mark Melvin said about having to visit another city for groceries.
On top of the lifestyle impacts, the city is bracing for a big economic hit.
“Based on the receipts today, it would’ve increased our tax revenues by 30 to 40 percent,” said Lea Ann Jackson, Mayor of Luther.
Jackson said they were banking on that money to improve town infrastructure.
And adding insult to injury -- a beloved youth football field was bulldozed in order for Walmart to build there.
“We did take some heat as a board when we sold it but we had all these pros,” Jackson explained. “And thought in the end, this will be for the greater good. The greater good is a little hard to see now.”
About 30 people worked at the Luther location. A Walmart representative said they will do their best to find placement for those people.
But in the meantime, the mayor is hopeful another grocery retailer will come in and take advantage of the new building and gas station.