Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Rural Socio-Economic Transformation: Agrarian, Ecology, Communication and Community Development Perspectives, RUSET 2021, 14-15 September 2021, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

Research Article

“Keep Our Walmart Open!”: What Happens When Walmart Closes Its Doors and Moves Away from Small Town Rural America?

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.4108/eai.14-9-2021.2317172,
        author={Yanu  Prasetyo},
        title={“Keep Our Walmart Open!”: What Happens When Walmart Closes Its Doors and Moves Away from Small Town Rural America?},
        proceedings={Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Rural Socio-Economic Transformation: Agrarian, Ecology, Communication and Community Development Perspectives, RUSET 2021, 14-15 September 2021, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia},
        publisher={EAI},
        proceedings_a={RUSET},
        year={2022},
        month={4},
        keywords={rural america rural identity small towns walmart fffect walmart exit},
        doi={10.4108/eai.14-9-2021.2317172}
    }
    
  • Yanu Prasetyo
    Year: 2022
    “Keep Our Walmart Open!”: What Happens When Walmart Closes Its Doors and Moves Away from Small Town Rural America?
    RUSET
    EAI
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.14-9-2021.2317172
Yanu Prasetyo1,*
  • 1: Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
*Contact email: yepw33@umsystem.edu

Abstract

As a powerful global entity, Walmart has created a risk in the daily experience of rural Americans. It is not just an ordinary retail store, it is part of people's culture. This study attempted to describe the community response to the closure of Walmart stores in small towns. As a source of low-prices and fresh food for people in small-towns, the closure of Walmart is devastating. Individuals and households are exposed to multiple risks and consequences such as loss of jobs, access to fresh food, increased prices for food and household items, higher costs for a long drive to get groceries, and knock-off effects on local businesses. Walmart effect pulls upwards and pushes downwards at the same time. The community powerlessness is not a sign of personal or collective failings but rather reflects the incapacities of the broader structure to have the bargaining power towards the neoliberal economic system.