Sam’s Club in Orange closes unexpectedly

Sam’s Club at 2 Boston Post Road in Orange was closed Jan. 11 without notice.

A person who answered the phone at the local store last Thursday confirmed it was closed, but would not provide any details.

A recording for callers to the Orange store stated the store would reopen Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. A manager contacted at the store referred all questions to Walmart headquarters. Other Sam’s Club stores in other states also closed unexpectedly last Thursday.

The store in Manchester, Conn., was also closed Thursday and a worker there said it will reopen on Friday and then close for good on Jan. 26.

The Newington store was open as usual Thursday, a worker who answered the phone said. It is unclear if that store is affected by the nationwide closings or will remain open past the end of the month.

Within just a few minutes of shocked employees learning the news, customers posted the news on Facebook, expressing concern over membership fee refunds, especially those who recently bought or renewed memberships.

Shoppers were not allowed in the store Thursday — except to the pharmacy — to which they were escorted by a guard. One shopper said employees throughout the store were crying and said they had no idea about the closing.

One man who did not want to identify himself said his daughter works at the cafe in the Orange store, and he was speechless when she sent him a message saying the store was closing. The cafe was not open on Thursday, he said.

“I live right here,” he said. “This is my favorite store. I feel betrayed.”

Shawn Masslino, of Stamford, said he has worked from Sam’s Club for 2 about two years and siad he is now feeling stressed about having to find a new job in just a few weeks.

“(But) there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

Sam’s Club is a members-only warehouse chain that sells groceries, electronics and home goods. The company is owned and operated by Walmart.

Walmart on Thusday announced it is boosting its starting salary for employees to $11 an hour and handing out one-time cash bonuses, according to The Associated Press. Walmart says the wage increase benefits all hourly U.S. workers within its stores, including Sam's Club, its website and logistics, according to the AP.