Protesters blast Walmart for closing store in Little Village: ‘We need this Walmart’

It’s one of four Walmart stores in Chicago being closed for good Sunday.

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Baltazar Enriquez from the Little Village Community Council speaking out Friday against the closing of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village.

Baltazar Enriquez from the Little Village Community Council speaking out Friday against the closing of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere / Sun-Times

About a dozen people gathered Friday outside a Walmart store in Little Village to speak out against Walmart for closing the store, one of four Chicago stores the company plans to permanently closes Sunday.

“This Walmart is for us,” said Baltazar Enriquez, president of the Little Village Community Council. “We fought to have this here. Since we are a low-income area, we depend on their low prices. We need these low prices because we don’t make enough money.”

The Little Village Walmart Neighborhood Market, 2551 W. Cermak Rd., is one of four Chicago stores that Walmart announced Tuesday are being shut down.

The protesters marched in front of the store in Little Village, carrying signs that said “We need this pharmacy” and “Keep this Walmart open.”

Earlier this week, there were similar protests in Chatham, where a Walmart Supercenter is being closed.

Two other Walmart Neighborhood Markets — in Kenwood and Lake View — also are being closed.

Maria Sorrono, who works at the Little Village Walmart, said older customers in the neighborhood particularly rely on the store for affordable groceries and prescriptions.

“I’m outraged and angry just like the customers,” Sorrono said. “This Walmart has always been jam packed and filled with customers. I wasn’t expecting this, and we were only told about the closing on Tuesday.”

Members of the Little Village Community Council and community members protest Friday outside Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village over the closure of four Walmarts in Chicago by Sunday.

Members of the Little Village Community Council and community members protest Friday outside Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village over the closure of four Walmarts in Chicago by Sunday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The company gave employees the option to move to another location, Sorrono said.

Kristian Armendariz, an organizer with the Little Village Community Council, said people should have been given more notice about the store closing.

“This location is a dire need for this community,” Armendariz said. “Many people depend on this Walmart for everyday essentials. Walmart didn’t inform the community residents that they were going to shut this store down ... What are we supposed to do with five days’ notice?”

In announcing the closings, Walmart said the Chicago storesl have been “unprofitable.”

Maria Sorrono, an employee of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village, speaks about the planned closure of her store this weekend.

Maria Sorrono, an employee of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Little Village, speaks about the planned closure of her store this weekend.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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