Sam’s Club abruptly closes 63 stores nationwide, lays off thousands Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary outraged, seeks replacement

Testingfg of Ads


Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary said he is seeking another wholesale warehouse store after the abrupt Jan. 11 closing of the Sam’s Club at 2994 Turner Hill Road. The Stonecrest store is one of 63 that the warehouse giant abruptly closed across the nation, laying off thousands of employees.

“I’ve already contacted Costco and they’re interested,” Lary said.

Lary said he was outraged to learn the Stonecrest store was closing. Loyal members, who have supported the store for years, expressed their shock, and employees, who learned they no longer had jobs when they reported to work.

“It caught us completely by surprise. There was no warning, not even to the employees. I saw some of them crying,” Lary said during a news conference he held on the closing day outside the store.

The Stonecrest store is the only Sam’s Club in Georgia that is closing, according to

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based Sam’s Club posted a statement on Twitter saying it was re-evaluating its strategies, in response to questions about the shutdowns nationwide.

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition,” Sam’s Club tweeted.

State Rep. Vernon Jones said he is planning to host a meeting with officials of Walmart, which owns Sam’s Club, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Stonecrest Library, 3123 Klondike Road.

“They told me it (the closings) was a business decision. They’re giving severance packages to some of the employees and relocating others but we’re going to hear from them and let people ask questions,” said Jones.

At On Common Ground News press time, it was unclear if some employees would temporarily remain at the Stonecrest location. A recorded message at the store said the location will permanently close on Jan. 26. The message stated that customers who had prescriptions to be filled could go to the store in Tucker.

An employee at the store said Sam’s Club plans to notify customers by mail within the next week and send them other information they may need. Asked why the Stonecrest store was still accepting new memberships the week of the national shutdowns, the employee said Sam’s Club did not tell employees in advance about its decision to close the stores.

“We didn’t try to deceive anyone (by taking the memberships). They didn’t even tell us,” the woman said, adding that the memberships can still be used at any location and online. She said she did not know if Sam’s Club planned to refund money to those who did not wish to shop at another location.

A manager at the store referred inquiries to corporate headquarters. On Common Ground News could not reach anyone at the number provided, however.

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, whose Commission District 5 includes the Stonecrest, said she learned of the closing on the morning that it made the news. She said out of courtesy, store officials should have notified elected officials.

“The community has been patronizing that store since 2003. It just makes sense that they could have given some type of notification,” Johnson said.

The Stonecrest store is the only Sam’s Club in Georgia that is closing, according to The 133,000-square-foot store opened on Aug. 7, 2003 as the 13th location in the Atlanta area. About 200 workers were hired, Richard Leaphart, who was the general store manager, said at the time.

Lary said it’s hard to imagine that the Stonecrest store was underperforming as he witnessed a steady stream of vehicles passing by during his press conference. A security guard stood out in the rain telling stunned customers the store was no longer open and re-directing them to the Sam’s Club at 1940 Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Tucker, about 16 miles away.

Sarah Anderson, a customer who drove from Stone Mountain, said that she shopped at the Stonecrest location weekly, and was shocked by the closing.

“I didn’t know they were closing. This was my store of choice—I love this store,” Anderson said.

The Stonecrest Sam’s Club closing comes on the heels of other stores in South DeKalb closing including Kroger at 965 N. Hairston Road, Stone Mountain (closed Oct. 13, 2017); Publix, 2075 S. Hairston Road, Decatur (closing March 3, 2018); and Wal-mart supermarket, 6152 Covington Highway (Jan. 30, 2018).

Jones said elected officials have been invited to attend the Town Hall meeting at the Stonecrest Library. For more information, contact State Rep. Vernon Jones at 404-656-0287 or email

Staff members Travis Hudgons and Glenn L. Morgan contributed to this report.   


On Common Ground was live on the scene where Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary held a press conference about Sam’s Club.

On Common Ground News


  • Joel B. Thibodeaux

    January 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    The community is right to be outraged, given how this was handled by Walmart corporation. However, I’m optimistic that by being the only store closed in Georgia, that this site is one being considered as a fulfillment center. That won’t make up for the loss in local commerce, but it would soften the blow of job loss. I also support any effort to bring another membership warehouse retailer to Stonecrest.


  • Jeffrey Meeks

    January 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Yeah right!MOre like another abandoned parking lot


  • Julian W. Beckford, MD

    January 15, 2018 at 12:58 am

    The city council should consider offering tax incentives to Costco.


  • Brenda Goodman

    January 15, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Why was this store, which is located in a flourishing neighborhood, the only one closed in GA? Definitely a poor business decision.


  • Sue Foster

    January 17, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I feel there is a bigger picture to be considered. Why this part of the county. We are set to become a competitor with the north part of DeKalb County.


  • S

    January 20, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Though I didn’t attend the meeting at Stone crest.. just looking at the meeting was nothing but a show. Supposedly.. Walmart representatives boasted about having ” answers ” to the people, they just flat out lied to them. Not one question was answered to why this place shut down like it did and to add to more misery..the neighborhood market is going with it as well and they’re not putting their distribution center there either.

    As a ..I believe..a manager from Sam’s said ,they make 100,000 dollars a day and in many Black communities.. a quality grocery/ store is always needed. It wasn’t like the products in there was expensive. While I will never profess to being a great mathematician.. like Mayor Lary does that constitute to an underperforming store? I’ve been to Mountain Industrial and Stonecrest. The foot traffic is the same.

    I’m hoping that I’m absolutely wrong about my assessment, but I still stand by the question of why the Stonecrest Sam’s was the first to close while the others are getting sometime for their employees to get their lives in order. One of their reps said that they are closing stores in cities/ towns in Baton Rouge,Houston,Upstate New York and Alaska. Again, I hope that I will be wrong, but it means nothing to me. Metro Atlanta is still mostly Black ,Houston is almost non White,Baton Rouge is more Black than White and Alaska? The state may have Whites there,but they forget about the Aboriginals,Native Canadians and Inuits that live there. Upstate New York is the only region that is more White than non White and what’s to say that it still could have targeted non White communities? After all,when you look at most of the people who work in their stores,they are non Whites.

    I found this incident to be ironic. In a,2012 issue of the Los Angeles times, the Walmart stores was embroiled in controversy in Washington D.C. after the reneged a promise to build two stores in the poorer areas of the district WHILE putting three in a revitalized more upper class area there .The irony of that is that those same three stores in that area aren’t doing as well as they had hoped.Supposedly, one of the reasons for not building those stores in the poorer areas was their mayor’s then vain attempts for a minimum wage hike for the workers.

    Forward wind that,the Sam’s Club and grocery stores are closing and they’re giving a bonus to their workers( which not as great as it seems). Why do something that at the end of the day,Costcos and BJs will be the winners?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Testingfg of Ads

About us

On Common Ground News is published daily by On Common Ground, Inc (OCGNEWS.COM). The newspaper serves DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale and Metro Atlanta.

The opinions expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher or the newspaper’s advertisers.

No portion of this newspaper may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher.

We reserve the right to reject material and advertisements we deem inappropriate.

On Common Ground News
P.O. Box 904
Lithonia, GA 30058

(770) 679-5607

Latest News

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: On Common Ground News, 1240 Sigman Road, Conyers, GA, 30012, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact