Harps Food Store’s Inc. plans to purchase the former Walmart Express in Cedarville.
On Wednesday, Harps announced the pending acquisition of nine former Walmart Express stores in Arkansas and Missouri.
Other locations in Arkansas are Gravette, Gentry, Prairie Grove, Mansfield and Charleston. In Missouri, the locations include Anderson, Seligman and Noel.
The acquisition is scheduled to close later this month, according to J. Max Van Hoose, vice president of store planning for Harps.
Van Hoose said specific information on store re-opening will not be finalized until after the acquisition is complete.
In January, Walmart closed 102 of its smallest Express formats saying it no longer fit the retail giant’s expansion plans. Each store is around 10,000 square feet and employed about 60. The January closure was part of a broader move by Wal-Mart to close underperforming operations.
While the U.S. store closure involves 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs, the brunt of the impact for small communities was the loss of 102 Walmart Express stores, which were an experiment harking back to 2011.
The former Walmart Express stores in Mulberry and Coal Hill were not on the list for Harps Food Stores’ acquisition.
Harps is a 100 percent employee owned company based in Springdale. With more than 3,900 employees, Harps is considered to be the largest employee owned company headquartered in Arkansas and the 30th largest employee owned company in the United States.
Harps currently operates 79 stores in northern and central Arkansas, southern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma.
Van Hoose said Harps currently is working on new store projects in Gentry and Vilonia in Arkansas and De Soto in Kansas that are expected to be open in the fall.
In 2017, Harps plans to open a store in Pocahontas, Ark., and replace existing facilities in Lincoln and Green Forest, Van Hoose said.