Walmart to close Raymondville store next month

RAYMONDVILLE — Wal-Mart will close its Raymondville store, laying off 110 employees in Willacy County, reeling from last year’s prison closure that rocked the local economy.

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The store, one of Raymondville’s biggest sources of sales tax revenue since it opened in 2005, will close Jan. 28, said Catalina Ozuna, executive director of the Raymondville Economic Development Corporation.

“That’s going to hurt us a lot,” Ozuna said. “For us, it’s a big impact.”

Wal-Mart officials will close the Raymondville store because it is one of the least profitable in the Rio Grande Valley.

“They’re targeting the least profitable stores,” Ozuna said.

Of the 110 employees being laid off 55 work full-time.

Workforce Solutions was meeting with Raymondville EDC officials today, said Laura Cavazos, the agency’s spokeswoman.

“The unemployment rate was hit hard,” Cavazos said, citing the prison closure. “We want to make sure we give them the support they need.”

Cavazos said agency officials plan to meet with the store’s employees.

“We’ll give them all the tools they need to apply for unemployment benefits and apply for a new job,” Cavazos said. “Some may be willing to relocate, some not.”

Raymondville and Willacy County are reeling from last March’s closure of the Willacy County Correctional Center, which laid off 400 employees in this county struggling with a 13-percent jobless rate. Officials estimate about 200 laid-off prison workers live in the Willacy County area.

The prison’s closure plunged Willacy County into a financial crisis, slashing $2.7 million from the county’s $8.1 million general fund budget.

Walmart is also closing one of four stores located in Brownsville. That store is located at 7480 Padre Island Hwy. and will shut its doors Jan. 28.

Read Walmart statement on closings and list of stores

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