LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - The temporary closure of Walmart in Livingston has given the smaller stores a chance to gain new customers.
"It has been a catch 22," Retail Therapy Christie Horn said. "We need Walmart for our supplies, but them closing has brought us new customers looking for good clothes to buy."
Jim Wright works for the city of Livingston and the Livingston Main Street program. Wright said the news of the closure two weeks ago took him by surprise.
"It was [a shock] , it definitely was," Wright said. "To tell you the truth it was for me too. I was like, 'Oh I need windshield wipers but I can't go to Walmart."
Wright said soon after the closure the city started to look at ways to let people know of other options.
"We started putting a list together of everything that we had to offer," Wright said. "I started to realize we had a lot more to offer."
Horn said last week she saw a 100% increase in her business transactions.
"People that have come in the last week and did not know I was here and I have been in business for three years," Horn said.
For artist Tomh Bruining, the closure has made his shop more noticeable.
"We've been here five or six months and every day we have people come in that are surprised we are here that didn't know we are here," Bruining said. "That push is coming with the help of Main Street and the city getting the word out."
Wright said the Livingston population may be small but the area does have enough shoppers to support the small stores.
"The trade area is much larger than just the town," Wright said. "A lot of people come out of Houston to fish and boat on the lake. They got used to Walmart being there. Now we just need to show them what else we have."
Walmart announced the temporary closure of the Livingston store on April 13. The corporate office cited a plumbing issue as the reason. The closure is expected to last six months. 420 workers were temporarily displaced by the closure.