Big Stone Gap Walmart to close by July 12

Walmart will end the program in May. (Source: JJBers/Flickr/MGN)
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BIG STONE GAP, Va. (WJHL) - The Walmart in Big Stone Gap will be closing its doors to customers by July 12, 2019.

According to Walmart spokesperson Phillip Keene, the decision comes "after a careful and thoughtful review process" to not renew the lease for the location at 1959 Neeley Road.

Keene said after lengthy negotiations with the property landlord, terms could not be agreed upon that would have allowed Walmart to extend the lease and "keep the store profitable."

"Our associates are the heartbeat of the company and our top priority is to take care of them during this transition. This decision is in no way a reflection of their hard work serving our local customers," Keene wrote.

The company hopes to transfer the majority of the 80 associates at the Big Stone Gap store to Walmart locations in Jonesville and Norton.

Keene's full statement:

"After a careful and thoughtful review process, we have made the difficult decision to not renew the lease for our Walmart store in Big Stone Gap. We are grateful to our customers who have given us the privilege of serving them; and we look forward to serving them at other area stores, including our Jonesville and Norton Supercenters, and on http://walmart.com. We will continue to serve customers in new ways across Virginia through expanded Grocery Pickup and many other innovations aimed at saving them time and money."

The company which owns the property Walmart leases in Big Stone Gap has issued a statement regarding the store closure.

You can read the full statement from Landmark Properties Group below:

"Recently, news has come to light that the Walmart in Big Stone Gap will be closing its doors on July 12, 2019. Like the residents of Big Stone Gap, the team at Landmark Properties Group are surprised and disappointed with Walmart's decision. We have been, and still are, ready to negotiate to any reasonable terms. The Walmart team has indicated that their decision to close is final, despite our efforts to reopen negotiations. When renewal discussions began, Walmart insisted on "a substantial reduction in the base rent figure." After consideration and competitive market research, we discovered that Walmart was already paying low rent for retail space in the area. However, we waited for Walmart to propose a rent reduction for us to consider, but the figure was never provided by Walmart. We were surprised by the sudden decision, as we had not reached a point in negotiations to discuss dollar terms. The outcome was decided by Walmart without a complete negotiation. On behalf of all involved parties, we apologize to anyone who is inconvenienced by this situation. We understand that the community has relied on Walmart since 1984, and we are saddened to see their part in the community come to an end. We are using all resources to find a new tenant which will serve the community of Big Stone Gap."