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Rural Arkansas community reacts to Family Dollar closings

After a rodent infestation in a West Memphis Family Dollar warehouse, more than 400 stores were forced to close their doors.

ENGLAND, Ark. — A recently discovered rodent infestation in a West Memphis Family Dollar warehouse force more than 400 stores to close their doors.

In rural parts of the state, many people depend on the store for essential items, like toilet paper and bread.

RELATED: FDA warns not to use certain Family Dollar products in 6 states after rodent infestation found

England is a community of more than 2,000 people and stores like Family Dollar are important to the community.

Georgia Scribner lives in England and she said she usually visits at least one a week.

"It's so sad because, like I said, our communities depend on both of these dollar stores," Scribner said.

She said hearing about the rodent infestation at the warehouse is disturbing.

"It's rather disgusting, actually," Scribner said. 

In the town, like many others in rural Arkansas, shopping options are limited, so she relies on the store to be open.

"All these other little places and stuff where everybody frequents the dollar stores. And it's important to our communities that we have what we need," Scribner added.

On Monday, people who attempted to shop at the England location were met with a 'temporarily closed' sign. 

The manager didn't speak with us on camera, but told us she was there to clean.

The Dollar Tree/Family Dollar corporation issues a voluntary recall on food items, pet food, medical devices, over-the-counter medications, cosmetics, and dietary supplements. 

The company released the following statement:

"We take situations like this very seriously and are committed to providing safe and quality products to our customers. We have been fully cooperating with all regulatory agencies in the resolution of this matter and are in the process of remediating the issue.

We temporarily closed the affected stores in order to proficiently conduct the voluntary recall of certain FDA-regulated products. Our teams are working hard to reopen these stores as soon as possible."

Shelby County, Tennessee Commissioner Reginald Milton said this isn't just an issue for Arkansas and Tennessee health officials.

"You can't put it on one individual. You put it on all of us. We are all responsible and each of us have a small bit of this that we need to be responsible of taking care of," Milton said.

Family Dollar leaders added their teams are working hard to reopen stores as soon as possible.

Even when customers are allowed back inside, people in England say they'll think twice before entering the store again.

"I wouldn't trust a shop there again," Abigail Watson, a frequent shopper, said.

She said it's a convenient spot for people who can't leave the town easily.

"That store [Family Dollar] they need, you know. There's people that's not fortunate enough to go to North Little Rock," Watson added.

For Scribner, it'll be a while before the store is on her list of favorites.

"The thought of the rats being in a warehouse over your items. I mean, you know, you don't want that," Scribner told us.

A full list of the stores closed and a full statement from the company can be found here.

RELATED: FDA: Do not use recalled infant formulas tied to infections

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