DeKalb official sets town hall after 'callous' Sam’s Club closure

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson and state Rep. Vernon Jones, the Lithonia Democrat, want more information on the sudden closure of the Sam's Club in Stonecrest.

In a statement, Johnson said she was notified by the Walmart Corporation that the store, which had been open since 2003, had permanently closed amid national closures.

“The abrupt manner in which the Stonecrest Sam’s Club was closed stands as an insult to the community,” she said. “Moreover, this move was callous and insensitive to its employees, and to its customers. Our community deserved better after 15 years of loyal patronage."

Johnson, wife of U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, has requested that the Walmart Corporation reconsider its decision and reopen the Stonecrest store, which is in an area that was formerly unincorporated Lithonia.

READWhy five Atlanta Child Murders cases are still unsolved

READDoraville swears in Georgia's only transgender elected official

READDeKalb to solicit proposals for relocating Confederate monument

Jones said residents deserve answers.

“We will certainly see an impact on our local economy and our community as a result of the hundreds of jobs that were lost, as well as the lost sales tax revenue that Sam’s Club generated,” he said.

A spokesman for Sam’s Club said the decision to close was tough.

“We don’t take this lightly and decisions like these are incredibly difficult,” the spokesman’s statement said. “This decision is based on a number of factors, including financial performance.”

The company’s “hope” is that many associates “will choose to stay with the company via transfer and we’ll begin working to make that happen.”

Hourly associates will continue getting paid for 60 days, the spokesman said, and if they haven’t transferred to another Sam’s Club or Walmart, which owns Sam’s, by then they will receive severance.

The news of the store closings came on the same day Walmart announced it was raising starting wages for employees.

Jones is hosting a townhall with representatives of Walmart on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Stonecrest Library, located at 3123 Klondike Road, Lithonia.

Johnson said she’s partnered with Worksource DeKalb to help employees who will be affected by this closing.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter