Residents of Albuquerque Struggle to Obtain Affordable Fresh Produce After Walmart Shuts Down

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Apr 23, 2024

A once prosperous Walmart in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico, was forced to close its doors last year, which has had significant consequences for the residents in the region. 

Without the retailer, the area’s residents have struggled to find affordable fresh produce, as the closest options are now miles away. This has particularly affected low-income families.

Retailers Begin Closing in Albuquerque

Walmart officially closed its doors in southwestern Albuquerque in March of last year. Soon after, Family Dollar and Walgreens followed suit, resulting in a decline in the community’s access to affordable foods and essentials (via KOAT).

An image of a large Walmart Supercentre during a sunny afternoon

Source: Wikimedia

Residents of this part of Albuquerque once had numerous retailers to do their weekly shops; now, they have few options, and low-income homes have been hit the hardest. 

Families Forced to Pay Prices They Cannot Afford

Following the closures, families have been forced to travel much further to do their weekly shopping and pay higher prices at the stores. Many households have been forced to use food pantries simply because they cannot afford all the essentials they require.

An image of a woman pictured leaning on a shopping cart

Source: Freepik

Pastor Joanne Landry from Compassion Services Center observed, “It’s just amazing to see how they run to these tables, and in just a short matter of time, it’s gone” (via KOB). This quote captures the dire situation and the immediate impact on food accessibility.

Local Pantries Experience an Increase in Demand

Local pantries, such as the one run by Roxie Bradley at La Mesa Presbyterian Church, were in much greater demand in the months following Walmart’s closing. 

An image of a woman gifting a man a bag of grain from a local pantry

Source: Freepik

Bradley said, “We just noticed every week there’d be more and more people coming that we hadn’t seen before” (via KOB).

Stores Begin to Hike Prices After Walmart’s Departure

According to Pastor Landry, several stores may be hiking prices in an attempt to capitalize on the vacuum left behind by Walmart.

An image of a woman shopping for fresh produce at a small market store

Source: Freepik

“Their food stamps just go quickly because they’re spending everything they have with high prices,” she told KOB.