I'm also curious as to whether or not anything will rush in to fill the gap Wal-Mart leaves behind. At the very least, a decent small grocery store would do very well.
That's just it, though. It won't. This is how towns die - there aren't enough people within range for a grocery store to make sense.
This is Reserve, NM. Specifically, this is Tubby's place, or Uncle Bill's Bar. I used to know why it was called Uncle Bill's bar. It's run by a guy named Tubby. Tubby made it out to San Francisco for the Summer of Love in '67 in Berkeley and then his dad (also not Bill) got sick, so having spent four years as a paratrooper in Vietnam, having spent a summer as a hippie in the Bay Area, Tubby came back to tend to things at home.
We drove through Reserve in 2000. We were on our way to the Very Large Array and we needed gas. The gas station, which is next to Tubby's, was also the grocery store. Somewhere I have a picture of its "notions" shelf - there's a bottle of Elk Rage next to a Barbie Doll and below that, cans of chili and dog food. We asked where we could get a bite to eat on the road to Datil and were told "nowhere." We asked what we could eat there and were told "Tubby could thaw us a pizza." So we paid $8 for Freschetta and $3 for Budweiser and ate peanuts and threw the shells on the floor as was customary. And sure 'nuff, once we left Reserve we saw no civilization for 130 miles.
Wikipedia informs me that when we passed through Reserve, it had a population of 387. It now has less than 300. Wikipedia also thinks it has two grocery stores which is purest bullshit. It had one place where Elk Rage and Barbie sat side-by-side and where they had to come unlock the pumps to gas us up because it was after 7pm. Reserve is going to die. Make no mistake about it. Once Tubby is gone, nobody will take the bar from him. And guaranteed - everyone in and around Reserve knows this. Their community has been dying for decades. It is the forgotten hinterlands; the only thing anybody knows about Catron County (if they know anything) is Silver City and The Boxcar Children. Much like Stephanie Meyer had never been to Forks, Gertrude Chandler Warner had never been to Silver City. Otherwise we wouldn't have this:
We'd have this:
And the difference between Reserve, NM and whereverthefuck WV this article is set is that nobody ever paid any attention to Reserve, NM.
Multiply times a million for ALL OF THE AMERICAN WEST. I recognize that Bumblefuck WV gets all the press because it's a 5-hour drive from DC while Bumblefuck NV doesn't because it's a 5-hour drive from Reno but for fuck's sake, if Walmart becomes the place where you fuckers come to socialize you are already dead, they're just picking your husk clean while you can still empty your own pockets.
FUCKING MOVE ON.
You know what's wrong with this country? We've given politicians a reason to leave dead-enders in place long past the point where they can live like humans because that's the bullshit gerrymandered way the electoral college works. If we were pure popular vote all these places would be semi-agrarian wastelands just like they were when they were originally settled and no one would expect any different.