ASHBURN, GA (WALB) - People in several small South Georgia towns celebrated not long ago when new Walmart stores opened in their communities. Friday, the retail giant announced it's shutting down of seven South Georgia stores and nearly 150 others around the country.
A year ago, city leaders in Ashburn hailed the opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Market as great news for the city's economy. Now people in the town are angry that Walmart is shutting down the store.
Residents in Ashburn will now have to find somewhere else to get their groceries and gas, because their Walmart Neighborhood Market will close in a few weeks.
"Why we can't have nothing here that we can come and buy the stuff we want for our family and we got to go all out of town to spend money. That's crazy," said resident Ruby Dorsey.
"Now I have to go all the way back to Tifton to get gas, 30 minutes away where it's real cheaper than it is here at home," said Johnny Burgess.
Ashburn's mayor says it was unexpected news he received this morning.
"As much as people support Walmart, for them to come in and just snatch it away from us like that without any notice it was real disappointing," said Mayor Sedric Carithers.
The store just opened January 2015.
"Some folks just left they jobs that they had at different places to come here to work at Walmart, a lot of them were excited that we got a Walmart," said Dorsey.
The move leaves an uncertain future for store employees.
"They did let me know that the people that have a job here, they gone try to get them replaced and the ones that don't get replaced they were going to give them 60 days pay, plus severance pay, plus get them training with the resumes," said Mayor Carithers.
Many worry that the closing will lead to higher gas prices in the city.
"The gas prices at the other stores are going to go back up," said City Councilman Johnny Burgess.
The store will close on January 28th.
The other South Georgia stores set to close are in Pelham, Donalsonville, Pearson, Lakeland, Ellaville, and Alma. You can find a complete list of store closures here.