Hillsboro Wal-Mart closing Jan. 28

The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Hillsboro is closing in two weeks, according to telephone calls Mayor Delores Dalke received early Friday morning.

?First, I got a call before 7 a.m. from corporate headquarters, and later a call from the local manager (Brian Miller),? she said. ?When Brian called, he was in shock.?

Dalke, who was in Denver, Colo., said news of the closing Jan. 28 is a major hit to the city. Corporate officials also called the Wichita mayor, which has three of these size stores.

?All of these stores that are called their Express models are closing,? she said. ?It?s not just in Kansas, but all over the United States. They are only keeping the big super centers.?

This situation is similar to when Alco took bankruptcy, she added.

?It didn?t matter that the Hillsboro store was making money — it was the end of it for all the stores.?

Another negative impact associated with the store?s closing involves city workers.

?We didn?t give our city employees any kind of raise last year because of Alco and Heartland Foods leaving, and what that did to our sales tax,? she said. ?With things going so much better (with the new Wal-Mart here), we voted to give our employees a raise at the last council meeting and now our sales tax is going away.?

Dalke said she was told Wal-Mart Real Estate Division would be in charge of dealing with the building. Dalke said it was her understanding that the employees will continue working at the Hillsboro Wal-Mart until Feb. 10 to clean out the store.

?I was also told the company will try to put as many employees to work in Newton and McPherson as possible, and the rest will get severance pay,? she said. ?It?s awful.?

More information will appear in the Jan. 20 edition of the Free Press.

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