Sam’s Shuttered

Shoppers Seek Last-Second Items As Sam’s Club Closes

Sam’s Club opened on West Fairmount Avenue for the last time Friday, about two weeks after the company announced it was closing stores across the country. Most of the shelves were bare after most items were discounted to reduce inventory. The local store, which has been open for about two decades, employed more than 100 workers.  
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti

Sam’s Club opened on West Fairmount Avenue for the last time Friday, about two weeks after the company announced it was closing stores across the country. Most of the shelves were bare after most items were discounted to reduce inventory. The local store, which has been open for about two decades, employed more than 100 workers. P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti

With a near-barren parking lot and even more bare shelves, Sam’s Club closed its doors for the last time in uneventful fashion Friday.

The members-only bulk store, located at 720 W. Fairmount Ave. in West Ellicott, abruptly announced its impending closure on Jan. 11 to the dismay of its loyal consumers and the more than 100 local workers it employed.

By its last day of business, the store had been completely stripped of inventory and workers were already in the process of dismantling its shelving system. A slow but steady stream of soon-to-be former Sam’s Club shoppers trickled in and out of the store throughout much of Friday for some last-minute small purchases, including some who just stopped by to see what the store looked like on the inside after having sold through nearly all of its merchandise.

“What a trip,” said Maria Torgalski of Charlotte. “I was a member, but I’m not going to renew (my membership). I am disappointed, though, because their tenderloin was the best and I’m happy I got one for 25 percent off last weekend. I used to shop here quarterly and stock up on paper products, but now I’m gonna have to shop online.”

James Francisco of Busti said he has been shopping at the local Sam’s Club location since it originally opened more than two decades ago, and shared similar sentiments about the store’s closure.

Signs are posted on the front doors at Sam’s Club. An auction for equipment inside the store is scheduled to take place late April or early May. 
P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

Signs are posted on the front doors at Sam’s Club. An auction for equipment inside the store is scheduled to take place late April or early May. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

“We were happy when we got this store, and now we’re sad to see it go,” he said. “I used to shop here a couple times a month, and grab some bulk items. A friend of mine worked in human resources here for the past 22 years, and she’s looking for a job now. But it does sound like they’re taking care of their employees who have been here for a while, at least.”

A sign on the front door noted an estimated date of late April or early May for an equipment auction. Customers were directed to www.crossbid.com for more information.

Sam’s Club is owned by Wal-Mart with headquarters in Arkansas. In a statement on Twitter earlier this month, the company said: “After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing Clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

A sign posted on the store’s front door said an auction for items inside — including shelves and equipment — will take place late April or early May.

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