CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. – While surrounding stores have closed, the Cahokia Heights Walmart has stood tall for 40 years. However, after not meeting the store’s corporate financial expectations, it’s closing its doors for good on April 21.
“I’m feeling heartbroken,” said Leroy Turner. “It kind of makes you wanna cry.”
Turner lives right behind Walmart and has shopped at the store for nearly 30 years.
“It’s like losing a family member,” he said. “That’s the best way to say it.”
In a statement, Felicia McCranie, the director of the store’s corporate communication, said:
“After a careful and thoughtful review process, we have made the difficult decision to close our Cahokia Walmart location. We have nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S., and unfortunately, some do not meet our financial expectations. While our underlying business is strong, this specific store hasn’t performed as well as we hoped.”
Ace Love from Fairview Heights used to work as a manager at the store for six years. Love said the Walmart closing is just another domino to fall along Camp Jackson Road.
“Walmart is leaving us. What are we going to do,” Love said. “Hardees is gone. Something else going to be gone. We are not going to have nothing left.”
Rena McNeal also lives in Fairview Heights and has been shopping at the Cahokia Heights store for years. Her two children also worked at the store.
“Walmart going to do what it’s going to do, and people will just have to move on and push forward,” McNeal said.
In a press release, Cahokia Heights Mayor Curtis McCall Sr. said he’s working with federal and state elected officials to try and save the store.
Turner said he’d be in favor of whatever’s necessary to save his local Walmart.
“If we have to come out here and picket for Walmart or if we have to have sitdowns, he said. “I’ll be the first one in line because I just can’t see it; it’s going to be difficult.”