Shoppers flocked to Sam's Club stores Friday to cash in on liquidation deals as news spread that six suburban locations will be closing.
The retail giant announced Thursday that 63 stores nationwide will be closing Jan. 26, including suburban locations in Naperville, Wheeling, Streamwood, Romeoville, Matteson and Batavia.
In Wheeling, shoppers stocked up on purchases to take advantage of 25 percent storewide discounts, some overfilling two carts and packing their vehicles. Sharon Grandt, who was at the store around noon Friday, said she doesn't know whether she'll continue shopping at Sam's Club.
"This just blew my mind," she said. "I don't see why they're closing. It's always been filled."
Many reacted to the closures with two questions: How do I get a refund for my canceled Sam's Club membership? And, what will happen to the many employees who will lose their jobs?
Members can continue shopping at any location and online, according to a Walmart spokeswoman. However, if members want to cancel their $45 or $100 membership fees, they can receive a full refund.
Members have three ways to get refunds: call (888) 746-7726, go online to samsclub.com/updatemembership, or visit a store.
Meanwhile, shoppers could be heard consoling employees who will soon be out of a job. After the stores close, most employees will be out of work by March 16 and managers out of work in April.
According to layoff notices the company sent to the state, 1,167 employees will be affected by the closures.
Northbrook state Rep. Jonathan Carroll wants legislators to be proactive in helping employees find jobs, especially as retail stores continue to close. Carroll said the store closures prompted him to begin a broader process of planning ways to help residents find work in case of more retail industry layoffs.
"As the retail world is getting to be a different place, I think we're all seeing there will be potentially a windfall of less opportunities available," Carroll said.