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CED Blog

Waldron, Scott County Moving On After Walmart Closes

by Mark Peterson - October 5, 2017

WALDRON -- Scott County Extension Agent Staff Chair Shaun Rhoades emcees a community meeting on September 26, 2017.

On July 14, the Walmart store in Waldron closed its doors, creating a retail hole and removing 98 jobs from this community of 3,372. This led to great concern for friends and family of the newly unemployed, for those who shopped at and used Walmart’s pharmacy, and for the future of the community. 

To respond to this event, a community meeting was held in Waldron on August 29, sponsored by the Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas (ARCO), the City of Waldron, Scott County government, the University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, and the Waldron Area Chamber of Commerce. The meeting attendance of over 170 reflects the concern in the community.

A job fair was held a week later, and on September 26, a follow-up meeting was held of ARCO – Scott County, with updates from city, county, and state officials, and several concrete strategies to move forward: courses offered through University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain, a web presence workshop for local businesses offered by ARCO, a fall community clean-up, a shop local campaign, and downtown revitalization with assistance from Extension’s Breakthrough Solutions Program. 

“Our future does not depend on Wal-Mart,” said Sherry Johnston, City Clerk/Treasurer.

The Arkansas Coalition for the Ouachitas has been involved in our Breakthrough Solutions Program,
so we are most pleased with this strong interest in the community, ongoing development work, and direct
involvement from ARCO board members Gar Eisele, John Vacca, Sherry Johnston, Shaun Rhoades,
and Tammy Young.