Brandon, Florida — Not just one, but five Walmart stores across the U.S. are closing their doors due to plumbing problems that, in some cases, will take four to six months to repair.
Those closing include locations in Livingston and Midland, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and near Los Angeles.
For the Brandon Walmart, I talked to Hillsborough County and Walmart to get answers about why these plumbing repairs will take so long and whether the issues are connected, but local customers are already skeptical.
“Why is it just plumbing problems? It’s gonna take them six months to fix up the store?” asked customer John Mambrl.
After a deluge of shoppers lined up for hours to get deals Monday.
“I just tried to go in the door and it’s like…’um it’s closed,'” said Walmart shopper Jody White.
Hundreds were turned away again at the Walmart Superstore on East Brandon Boulevard Tuesday where they found doors shut and locked and the pharmacy guarded by security.
Walmart spokesperson Amanda Henneberg released a statement Tuesday on the closure:
“As part of an effort to ensure all of our stores are fully serving the needs of our customers we regularly assess the conditions of our stores. Due to ongoing plumbing issues that will require extensive repairs we are temporarily closing the Valrico/Brandon store. We will immediately begin the process to address these issues and intend to reopen the store as soon as all of the plumbing issues are resolved. Deciding to close a store is not a decision we make lightly, but after careful consideration, we felt it was necessary to make these repairs so we can better serve our customers and the community in the long run.”
So 10 News called the county. Officials say they have no record of any code or permit violation at the Brandon location.
And when 10 News was at the Walmart Tuesday, there were no marked septic trucks or plumbing vehicles in the lot.
“Where is everybody if they’re supposed to be working on everything where are all the trucks?” asked shopper Melissa Dupuis.
10 News asked a Walmart spokesperson whether the five stores were built from the same design, whether they had the same contractor, anything to understand why all of them closed on the same day for “plumbing issues.”
The only thing they have in common, the spokesperson said are the highest number of plumbing incidents.
Leaving some customers to wonder “how many things have they not said. That’s scary,” said shopper Norma Espinosa.
A Walmart official also told 10 News repairs haven’t started yet because they still need to organize the store after so many shoppers came out to take advantage of closing deals.
She added each of these five stores closed, there have been upwards of 100 plumbing or pipe incidents in just the past two years. That, and that alone, is the only connection, according to Walmart officials.