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Small grocers stay afloat in Walmart departure - KOAM TV 7

Small grocers stay afloat in Walmart departure

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ANDERSON, MISSOURI -

Town and Country Market manager David Cooper sacks groceries as his wife runs them across the scanner and their baby, Zoley, plays with plastic sacks. The baby on the counter is just one of the many ways the little store in Anderson feels like home to its customers.

When Walmart shut down a number of their neighborhood markets in the area, small towns like Anderson wondered what would business be like next? The answer: an initial sales drop.

"Any time you get competition in town, then the existing businesses are going to see some sort of a sales drop. As customers try out the new stores, see what there is," Cooper said.

While some customers stayed loyal to local all along, Cooper and his team of associates have enjoyed the influx of new customers and unique challenges that Walmart's absence has left them with.

The day Walmart announced its closing, the bread aisle at Cooper's store immediately emptied. People did not know where else to go for their items.

"It's different in a lot of areas, a lot of respects I would say. From the products we're selling, people are asking for different things now, we've got newer, different people in the store here," Cooper said.

Cooper welcomes them all. Some customers come in with specific products they grew accustomed to at Walmart that Town and Country did not originally offer. Cooper said this has proved to be an enjoyable challenge, to be constantly updating stock and new wares.

After the drop, came a rise in sales. So much that Town and Country has hired additional associates in order for the store to remain at equilibrium.

"I definitely think Anderson is very fortunate. That we're still here, that the pharmacy is still here, Mustang Drug next to us. And Anderson is not left in a total vacuum like a lot of towns are, that now have to drive a very long time to find a grocer or a pharmacy," Cooper said.

 One of those people is Carl Ewing. He started shopping at Town and Country when Walmart stopped selling his preference of tea. He buys it by the case at Town and Country.

"It's a crying shame that they closed. A lot of people, like, now I have to go instead of a mile, I have to come all the way to the end of this town to get anything I need since they closed that one up," Ewing said.

Overall, Cooper said the store has hit its stride again.

"I love this store. I'm here everyday. I mean his parking lot is always full, whether Walmart was here or not," customer Jacque Swadley said.

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