WHITEHALL, Mich– A small town business community protested the world’s largest retailer Friday, making their voices loud and clear to keep Walmart out of their town. Walmart has been in talks with Whitehall Township officials to build a 126,000 sq ft. “super center” on the 30 acres of un-developed land behind the Ramada Inn. That’s at the corner of Holton Whitehall Road and US-31.
While many residents may be thinking lower prices and a shorter drive for goods, that is exactly what leaves some worried even though the company claims they’ll bring 300 jobs to the area.
Mitch Johnson who owns a business in the Whitehall area said “this small town was brought up with integrity and bringing Walmart to this town, tell me where integrity is in Walmart.” He goes on to say that if “they take away 20% of my business that’s like taking 20% my check each week.”
Community members fear that if Walmart sets up shop the area will lose its charm and jobs already there will disappear.
Gerrie Miller who also owns a business in the area said “it’s not about the dollars it’s about the people, the people are what matter in this town, the people brought this town together and we need to stick together, small communities need to stick together.”
An official from the Whitehall Planning Commission says the plan would first have to be approved by the planning commission then the Board of Trustees. He says it’s not on the agenda in April but a spokesperson for Walmart says the site is appropriately zoned and they look forward to serving customers early 2015.
There hasn’t been any official plan submitted to the township and the supervisor said he wasn’t taking a side.