Area Walmarts to shorten hours after corporate review

Customers go about their business shopping at Arkansas City Walmart on Wednesday. This store and the one in Winfield will no longer be open 24 hours starting Oct. 5.

Cancel any plans for overnight shopping at Walmart starting in a few weeks.

Both supercenters in Winfield and Arkansas City will shut down for five hours starting Oct. 5, according to a corporate spokesperson.

Neither store will remain open for 24 hours, causing some inconvenience for those who work overnight or just enjoy shopping at those hours, based on social media comments pouring in over the decision.

The new hours will be 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. The store will be unoccupied during the remaining five hours of each day, according to Walmart media relations.

“I shop during late hours because I work until midnight,” Mika Welch said, “I usually get there around 1 a.m. Now I'll have to utilize my days off to shop during the day.” 

Corporate spokesperson Casey Staheli said the change is not a nationwide occurrence but is based on Walmart’s criteria for each store.

“Based on a recent review of shopping patterns at our Winfield and Arkansas City stores, we are adjusting hours and reallocating resources to better serve our customers during peak shopping periods,” Staheli said. 

Affected employees are being given an opportunity to transfer to another shift or another location, he added. Others choose to retire or leave for other jobs.

Several area residents aren’t happy with the decision.

“With both of them being college towns, it makes no sense,” Paula Crabtree Straughn said. “What do the people do who just get off work, stopping to grab something before work or during their break?” 

Another person mentioned not being able to get medicines overnight in a pinch.

Armon Williams explained that it will be inconvenient, but he will adjust. “Business is business. It's not like I can't shop at different hours…” 

“Not many people are out during those hours so it makes sense,” Lynn said. “If someone needs to pick up one or two things, 24 hour gas stations normally have a good supply of necessities.”

Kevin McClung, owner of KPM Computers, said it won’t affect him.

“As a small business owner, any hours that Walmart closes (even if late) isn't a bad thing for me,” he said. “I try to shop at all other local businesses for items I need first.”

The Ark City Supercenter held an open house in March of 2006 with nearly 200 people attending in celebration of the 155,000 square-foot location, more than three times as large as the former one, now Orschelns. 

The store reportedly created about 150 new jobs which brought the total employment for the Ark City store to about 270 people.

The 153,472 square-foot Winfield Supercenter celebrated its grand opening in March of 2007.  It boasted a 55,770 square-foot larger store with about 230 associates.

Neither Walmart store manager could be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

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