A national spotlight is about to shine on Edna.

In July 2018, the local Walmart, which had operated in the town of about 5,700 for 36 years, closed its doors permanently.

The closure made headlines in statewide publications last summer, when residents took to social media to complain about the closure's widespread effects.

Now, the small town event is making news again in an even wider circle.

Michael Corkery, who writes about business and finance for The New York Times, visited the community this week to report on the impact the big retailer's closure had on Edna, its residents and neighboring consumers.

Corkery said he would not comment about the subject of the article until after its publication.

The timing of the article comes after a string of Walmart closures in the past year. 

According to Business Insider, at least 22 Walmarts either have closed or are closing throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2019. 

When the Edna Walmart closed, residents complained about the lack of a centralized supermarket to do their shopping.

"From Ganado, Inez, Vanderbilt – this was the store people would come to," said Patricia Cantu, who lives in Edna with her husband, Adam.

Cantu said she and her husband now travel 30 minutes down U.S. 59 to Victoria for most of their shopping. 

"They carry things here, but it's really expensive because you have to go to the gas stations," Cantu said. 

Although there is an H-E-B at 301 N. Wells St., it closes at 10 p.m.

She said the lack of a 24-hour Walmart store worries her. 

"What if you get sick in the middle of the night?" She asked.

Local officials also worried about harm to the city's sales tax base.

Walmart was one of the highest sales tax generators in Edna and opened at 1002 N. Wells St. in 1982.

Despite the July 2018 closure, sales tax revenue in the city went up that year. The end-of-year total amounted to $1,227,844, up from 2017's sales tax revenue, which was $1,069,718.

Although down from last year, the current sales tax revenue this year is also higher than 2017's figure. That figure for 2019 is $1,150,286.

Though the sales tax is stable, the Walmart's closure rocked the lives of many community members.

Walmart held personal significance for the Cantus.

Cantu's husband, who has a disability, used to take walks in the Walmart when weather prohibited walking outside.

Now, she said, they have to travel to the Victoria Mall or big box stores whenever there's bad weather and he wants to take a stroll.

"We miss it," she said.

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Morgan O'Hanlon is the business and agriculture reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6328, mohanlon@vicad.com or on Twitter @mcohanlon.

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Morgan covers business for the Victoria Advocate. She was born and raised in Austin, Texas and received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

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