Local City Getting New Pharmacy After Walmart Closes

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Recently, Walmart announced it was closing its location in Waldron. With Friday (July 14th) being its final day of operation, the city is now looking at ways to move on.

With the closing of the Walmart and its pharmacy, many in the town were worried about where they would get medical supplies. That's why Harps is opening a pharmacy to help solve the problem.

"It's a relief to know we'll know some of the pharmacists there, too. Because some of the Walmart people are going over there," said a loyal Walmart customer, Anne Crossett.

Mayor Neil Cherry told 5NEWS that the pharmacy is going to open as soon as possible. He's hoping for early August. But, that doesn't solve all the problems, according to Crossett.

"Ever since 1982 when they opened, I've been here," she said.

Crossett has been so loyal -- Friday, she felt with the employees who have to leave their positions and each other.

"Of course, they're sad," she explained.

Thankfully, not all of them have to worry for too long. The employees have their manager to thank for that.

"As soon as he heard Walmart was closing, he started calling other stores," said Crossett.

Some employees got transfers to different Walmarts in Booneville, Mena and Greenwood.

"And (he) worked tirelessly to get that done," she said.

Crossett says those who didn't transfer received severance packages. A new chapter for the employees looms -- and possibly a new chapter for the city.

"The mayor is encouraging people to start small businesses. I know of two possible ones, but they're not certain yet," explained Crossett.

With Walmart gone, Crossett believes there's an opening for a rebirth of small business in the area. In the mean time, mayor Cherry said Walgreens and Dollar General have increased their staff and inventory to help off-set the loss.

He also told 5NEWS there is a meeting at the Waldron High School commons room on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 in the afternoon. At the meeting, he says a panel will discuss what the city can do to move forward. Cherry says questions will be fielded at the conclusion of that panel's discussion.

5NEWS did reach out to Walmart for permission to interview employees, but was denied.