The Wal-Mart Supercenter on the Evangeline Thruway will close on March 29th and the pharmacy will close on the 15th.
The company tells KATC, store performance is one of the reasons for closing the store.
Customers tell KATC’s Dannielle Garcia they’re upset because the next closest Wal-Marts are on Pinhook and in Carencro.
They’re also worried about what’s next for the store’s more than 300 employees.
“It’s heartbreaking, its more heart breaking to go in there and seeing the workers, they’re crying, they’re upset and from what I’m understanding, they’re not guaranteed jobs,” said Mandy Francis, who lives nearby and shops there weekly.
A friend of hers has worked there for about 20 years.
“They’re feeling like they just lost everything. They’re telling them that they’re going to have to re-apply, get an assessment. It’s crazy, a place like Wal-Mart, there’s Wal-Marts all over the nation,” she said.
Keon Broussard, another customer, said the employees know the customers well, making the big box store a community store.
“I’m not happy about it because like, man this is all we know, especially on this side of town. Nobody has time to be going all the way to Carencro, to go shop all the way on Ambassador. People don’t have rides like that. Man they wiggin’. They closing down the shop, man this is the best Wal-Mart,” said Broussard.
He, Francis and other customers are now pleading for Wal-Mart to reconsider.
“I hope they don’t close down Wal-Mart. Please don’t close down Wal-Mart. I’m asking y’all please,” said Broussard.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman for the Louisiana region, Anne Hatfield, tells KATC they will meet with each employee to see if they would like to transfer to one of the other 5 stores that are within an 8-mile radius.
She said she’s confident there will be plenty of room, but since it is a process there is no guarantee.
And pharmacy customers will be able to switch their prescriptions to either the Pinhook or Carencro locations.
According to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the economic impact of the Northside Wal-Mart’s closure won’t be too significant.
That’s because the money spent at that store will now be spent at others in the area. But if jobs aren’t guaranteed to workers, LEDA says they will step in.
“In that part of town, it will cause an inconvenience. It won’t really be a big economic impact, the impact that could be negative is the people that won’t have jobs. I’ve already gotten calls today from some people saying ‘are you going to have a job fair for these people that won’t have jobs?’ And so I don’t see, with an unemployment rate of 3.9%, difficulty absorbing those jobs,” said LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux.