Family Dollar to close West Memphis distribution center
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - Family Dollar will close its distribution center in West Memphis.
The news comes months after a Food & Drug Administration investigation unveiled unsanitary conditions at the facility, including contaminated food, cosmetics and medications. Plus, more than a thousand rats were found.
The discovery shuttered Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee for weeks.
The 850,000-square feet facility opened in 1994 and distributes across the Mid-South. The move impacts about 300 employees.
The building will continue shipping to stores until the end of June.
Inventory transfers to other distribution centers will be completed in August.
West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon says 320 employees will be out of a job in the next 60 days.
“It’s frustrating that over a 30-year relationship with them being here in the city of West Memphis and the city of West Memphis being a good partner in the city of West Memphis that we will be losing that industry, but the people is what I’m most concerned about,” said Mayor McClendon
The Family Dollar facility has employed thousands of West Memphians since it opened in 1994.
“With the pandemic going on and everything, a person really needs to work,” said former distribution center employee Cornelius Prewitt. “It’s hard. It’s really hard.”
Cornelius Prewitt, a former distribution center employee, says he was shocked to hear the site was closing.
“That’s kind of bad people are losing there jobs because everyone needs a job and everything,” said Prewitt. “I just pray for them and I hope they find something else.”
Other residents say after a federal investigation closed the site, Family Dollar should’ve cleaned up instead of cleaning house.
“I think they should’ve cleaned it up” said one West Memphis resident. “When they first started talking about it and stuff. They should’ve did something about it then.”
Family Dollar sent this letter to Mayor McClendon Monday announcing the impending closure.
After speaking with Family Dollar officials via phone the mayor says the company wanted to close the site because it was “too old”. McClendon says even though they couldn’t get Family Dollar to stay in West Memphis, he’s hopeful another company will eventually take over the space.
“I’m very excited about the potential that the city of West Memphis may be making pretty soon so hopefully if those things come to fruition,” said Mayor McClendon. “This will be something that hurts us but definitely something we can bounce back from.”
Mayor McClendon says the city’s employment office is looking to help Family Dollar employees. The city has also reached out to Governor Asa Hutchinson who offered to help, if needed.
A Family Dollar spokesperson issues the following statement on the closure:
A letter from the Vice President of Dollar Tree/Family Dollar to Mayor McClendon:
New photos show more of the conditions inside the facility as part of a lawsuit filed in the Western District of Tennessee on May 2.
WARNING: Some of these photos are graphic.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who is suing Family Dollar, issued this statement:
“Family Dollar is punishing hundreds of hardworking Arkansas families instead of cleaning up the company’s own, illegal business practices that put their employees and consumers at risk. Rather than eliminating jobs, Family Dollar should eliminate deceptive and dangerous conduct.”
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