Looking For A Deal

Sam’s Club Customers Eye Discounts As Closure Nears

A line of customers wait to enter Sam’s Club on Friday morning in the town of Ellicott, a day after the store announced it would close Jan. 26. Many said they were disappointed in the sudden announcement, but were looking for good deals nonetheless. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Customers began lining up near the entrance of Sam’s Club about an hour before it was scheduled to open. When the doors finally opened at 10 a.m., that line stretched all the way around the Fairmount Avenue building.

Many shoppers said they were eager to snatch up discounted bulk items a day after the company announced it was closing 63 of its membership warehouse stores across the country. Several local residents — and even those who traveled from Pennsylvania hoping to find a deal — said they were disappointed how little notice was given to the public and employees of the planned shuttering.

Curtis Southwick, a Falconer resident and frequent Sam’s Club shopper, said he was disheartened to learn most employees of the local store were not given notice in advance of the closure. He criticized the store’s parent company, Wal-Mart, for the handling of the situation, noting “that’s not how you treat your employees.”

“The way they did this, it’s not right,” Southwick said. “Not for the employees who weren’t given any notice and for the customers.”

Southwick said he enjoyed the variety of merchandise the store offered, ranging from groceries to tool boxes.

An SUV looks for a parking spot Friday morning as a line of customers stretch the front of the building. More than 60 stores are scheduled to close nationwide. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Also shopping Friday was Jamestown resident Donna Atwell, who said she has been coming to the Ellicott Sam’s Club for more than two decades. Atwell said she was shocked to learn the store would be shuttered in two weeks.

“I was so upset,” Atwell said. “I come here with my sister once a week. We shop together.”

Atwell’s sister, Jan Adams, said she made a list of items she hoped to buy once she learned the store would close. She and Atwell decided to get breakfast early Friday and head to the store before the doors opened.

The pair ended up getting a spot near the front of the line.

“We’re always here together,” Adams said. “I had no idea they were thinking of closing. We just decided to get up early and waited in our cars.”

Romona Bailey, a Sherman resident who noted that she sometimes shops at Sam’s Club twice a week, said she will likely start going to the Erie, Pa., store now. Bailey said she, too, was disappointed to learn her local Sam’s Club was closing.

“This was so depressing and with no warning, this was so sad,” she said. “A lot of people shop here, as you can tell.”

Bailey said she does most of her shopping at Sam’s Club and hoped to get a few discounted items before the Ellicott location closed for good.

“I get everything here,” she said.