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The north metro is losing another major retailer.

On Tuesday, Walmart announced it will close its superstore in the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping center in Brooklyn Center on April 21, a major blow to customers in need of cheap and convenient groceries and other household necessities.

"This place is busy. If you take it out of the community, I don't know what people will do," said 45-year-old Abraham Ugas of Brooklyn Park as he finished shopping for his family Tuesday afternoon.

While there is a Cub Foods a bit down the road from Walmart, full-service food and convenience stores are still hard to find between Olson Hwy. and Brooklyn Center, Ugas said. He pointed out the north Minneapolis Aldi grocery store that shuttered last month.

Financial performance among Walmart's nearly 5,000 stores is one of the main factors behind closing certain locations.

Brooklyn Center's pharmacy staff will work with customers to transfer prescriptions to other locations. The company will offer employees the chance to transfer to nearby stores, the retailer said.

"We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them at our Brooklyn Center location," said Felicia McCranie, communications director for Walmart in the northern and eastern United States.

On Tuesday, signs posted on the sliding front doors of the store were the only warning to shoppers the neighborhood resource would soon close. Employees at the store said they heard earlier that day of the closing.

The store will begin clearance sales to sell as much remaining merchandise as possible. Walmart workers already staffed the meat section Tuesday to help print out discounted price tags for customers.

A sign posted on Walmart’s sliding entry doors informed incoming customers of its impending closure.
A sign posted on Walmart’s sliding entry doors informed incoming customers of its impending closure.

Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune

"This is heartbreaking," said Laquita Jones, 60, of Brooklyn Park.

Jones visits the store every other day to shop not only for herself but for her church and elderly friends. She said Walmart employees who recognized her gave her the bad news as she entered the store Tuesday.

"This is going to be detrimental to me," Jones said.

While there are other stores to shop, Jones said the Brooklyn Center Walmart had the best selection of soul food essentials like different kinds of meat and produce she couldn't find elsewhere.

"I can't believe it," said Roxanne Bernhardt, 58, of Brooklyn Center.

She was at the store with her grandson and her daughter-in-law, who questioned why Walmart would close the store. They shop at the location every other week. They will now have to travel farther to go to Walmarts either in Brooklyn Park or Maple Grove.

"It's kind of sad that they are closing," Bernhardt said. "I don't know what other people will do."

Walmart opened the superstore on the site of the former Brookdale Shopping Center off Hwy. 100 and Bass Lake Road in 2012. When it opened, Walmart management said the nearly 190,000-square-foot store would employ about 300 associates. The store has been the anchor of the retail area that includes more than 30 small shops, restaurants, a fitness center and a dental practice.

City officials learned of the closure on Tuesday.

"This is devastating and a major economic loss to our region because Walmart has served the Brooklyn Center community since 2012," City Manager Reginald Edwards said in a statement Wednesday. "Our residents have relied on the convenience of the location. While this presents a significant challenge to the city, we are committed to rebounding and building a stronger local economy."

Walmart's departure is just the latest major retailer to leave Brooklyn Center. In 2019, Target closed its store a few blocks to the north across from the Brookdale Library. The nearby Sears store closed in 2018.

While Walmart representatives didn't mention public safety concerns as a reason for closing the Brooklyn Center store, the shopping area surrounding the Walmart has been called "a hotspot for crime," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Kellace McDaniel said last month. He made the comment as the city rolled out its first mobile camera trailer and planned to park it in the shopping center's parking lot.

Walmart owns the Brooklyn Center property and will evaluate it for a new use at a later date, the company said.

In recent months, Walmart has announced closures in other states including a store in Milwaukee.

In total, there are about 80 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs in Minnesota. The company said it remains committed to the state.