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Walmart faces rejection by feisty little town of Chanhassen

Walmart, the biggest company in the world, is losing a fight with Chanhassen.
Walmart, the biggest company in the world, is losing a fight with Chanhassen.

Walmart has thousands of gigantic stores across America, and dozens of them in the state of Minnesota. It employs millions of people, and sells tons of Chinese products to hundreds of millions more.

Chanhassen is a town of 23,000, perhaps best known, if at all, as the home of the largest dinner theater in America.

On its face, Walmart vs. Chanhassen doesn't seem like a fair fight. But, threatened with a proposed Walmart behemoth, little Chanhassen is pushing back with all its might, and just might be able to keep the biggest company in the world from setting up shop.

This is what would happen if Disney commissioned a movie directed by Michael Moore.

At a public meeting last night, concerned Chanhassenites filled one room, and then an overflow site, as they watched the city planning commission vote, unanimously, to reject the construction of a new Walmart.

The proposal of a 120,000-square foot super-duper Walmart drew citizens in droves, the Chanhassen Villager reports, with community development director Kate Aaneson saying it was the biggest turnout she's seen in two decades.

Christy Walton and Jim Walton have tens of billions of dollars but want more from Chanhassen.
Christy Walton and Jim Walton have tens of billions of dollars but want more from Chanhassen.

In the run-up to the meeting, a group called Chanhassen First started a petition to protest the new big-box store, and has collected more than 1,000 signatures already. On its website, Chanhassen First cites problems with traffic, policing, and the impact on competing local businesses as reasons to oppose a new Walmart in town. 

Last night, those same issues dominated the public hearing, with the Villager reporting that roughly one person is still in favor of building the Walmart: Walmart representative Lisa Nelson.

Nelson thinks people have misunderstandings about Walmart, which she said would add up to 300 jobs in Chanhassen. Research from Walmart indicates that the people of Chanhassen actually already shop at nearby Walmarts and other stores in surrounding Chaska, Shakopee, and Eden Prairie.

Further Walmart research indicates that the people of Chanhassen then drive home, where they talk quietly with their family, eat a large meal, and watch sports on television until they fall asleep. (Walmart knows all.) Nelson said putting a Walmart in town would "keep those dollars in Chanhassen," by which she of course means, "route those dollars to the children of Sam Walton, four of whom have more than $20 billion each."

The planning commission's rejection is a nonbinding recommendation, and the matter will now fall to the Chanhassen City Council's November 28 meeting.


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