WINONA, Miss. (WCBI)- A major retailer in Winona will soon be closing. Earlier this week the town found out its Walmart is set to shut its doors at the end of the month.
However, residents aren’t letting it go without a fight.
“We want to be heard,” said Fay Gant, Winona resident who’s fighting to keep the store in town. “We do not want Walmart closing here in Winona.”
Gant was among the nearly 200 residents and city leaders in Winona gathering outside of Walmart on Friday for a peaceful protest.
They prayed, signed petitions, and held up signs, all in an effort to prevent Walmart from closing it’s doors.
“I don’t know who is coming to lock the doors, but if we have to link arms and stand in the parking lot, some of us have never been arrested so we might try that,” said Gant.
“We have people that come from Duck Hill, Vaiden, Kilmichael, different surrounding smaller towns that come here and shop here as well,” said Calbrina Woods who was a part of the protest. “It’s not just Winona’s Walmart, it’s a bigger picture that they don’t see.”
Walmart has been a staple in the Winona community since 1979.
It’s one of the town’s biggest revenue generators and employs more than 80 workers.
However, with the store closing, those workers will now have to find new jobs.
“That’s 86 people who are going to lose their jobs here in Winona and that is going to put such a tough financial burden on them,” said Mayor Jerry Flowers.
Mayor Flowers said he’s reached out to the corporate office for answers and to see if there’s anything that can be done to keep it from leaving town.
“I talked with them two or three times in the last couple of days, and it’s, a dollar figure is really the reason,” said Flowers. “That and the, the old building, but this isn’t going to hurt us. We’ve been here before Walmart and Winona will be here after Walmart.”
The next closest Walmart is more than 20 miles away, but resident said they refuse to drive out of town.
Instead, they’ll just keep their money in town and shop at other local stores.
“We are not going to drive to Grenada and support the Supercenter,” Gant expressed. “We have a Fred’s, we have a dollar store, we have a grocery store, that’s what they want us to do but we are going to stay here and keep our money at home.”
“It’s always been said that a close mouth doesn’t get fed, so we are out here opening her mouth to let them know we need our Walmart,” said Woods.
Residents plan to continue to be out protesting all month long and signing petitions.
They hope to get their petitions to the corporate office to help prevent them from closing the Winona location.
“It’s always been said that a close mouth doesn’t get fed, so we are out here opening our mouth to let them know we need our Walmart.”