ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been more than two months since the Walmart on San Mateo near Central closed its doors. People who once shopped there are still scrambling to get their groceries elsewhere.
“Now, instead of one trip to this Walmart because it’s really close to my house, I make two trips on the bus to get the same stuff and have to go different places.”
“There’s been other closures of small-dollar stores, as well, so it’s just kind of crunching all together,” Enrique Cardiel, the Director of the nonprofit Health Equity Council, said.
He said, after the closure of other spots in the area like Fair-N-Square, John Brooks, and now Walmart, it’s left a hole in the International District. That’s why he is hosting meetings to get feedback on what people want to see here next. With a few outreaches already under his belt, he said it’s clear the community wants and needs a one-stop shop.
“People just want another grocery store. Some people want a community-owned grocery store. We need to get some pharmacies to open up and places to get clothes and diapers and other things.”
While the city secured nearly $2 million during this year’s legislative session for redevelopment in that district, it’s still not enough to buy the property. However, Walmart has said if the property doesn’t sell, they are willing to negotiate with the city.
This Walmart location was one of several across the country that shut down earlier this year. While the company said the store was underperforming, the decision to close was based on several factors. Some believe retail theft could have been a reason.
Cardiel believes essential services could be part of the solution. “Part of the shoplifting issue is the housing crisis. If we can fix the housing crisis, a lot of the shoplifting stuff gets taken care of because people have a place to be, you know, they have access to food and whatever services,” he said.
The next community meeting will be held on June 17. If you’re interested in attending, email email@example.com.