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Controversial New Wal-Mart Opens in Sandy

Controversial New Wal-Mart Opens in Sandy

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Gene Kennedy Reporting People protested against it, but voters made it happen. Today marks the grand opening for a new Wal-Mart superstore in Sandy.

The controversy was nowhere in sight, at least that's the case this morning. Instead, a large crowd and a cast of characters gathered to welcome the super giant. Strike up the band, Wal-Mart is back in Sandy.

We almost felt like we were at a movie premiere or maybe a new video game system just came out. The random characters that never speak popped up everywhere. But if they wanted to say "we're excited", we got the message.

Scott Trudo, manager: "My name is Scott Trudo and I'm the manager at the new sandy Wal-Mart! (applause)."

Truly a "superstore" in terms of space, it's 200,000 square feet. The new store replaces the South Towne Center Wal-Mart which closed in December.

Marlyse Anderson, Wal-Mart Shopper: "I couldn't get in here quick enough. I got here at eight o'clock when it opened up. I'm just really impressed with the size, how clean it is, how well stocked it is."

Dennis Eveland, Wal-Mart Shopper: "We're just thrilled that it's here. It's close to where we live. It's gonna be very nice to us."

Not everyone considered this store a nice idea. A few years ago, some Sandy residents petitioned against it. Others protested. The issue even went before the Utah Supreme Court. Ultimately, in November 2005, voters gave it the OK, but by a small percentage.

Gerry Taylor, Wal-Mart Shopper: "I did not vote for it.

Gene: but you're here?

Gerry Taylor: "Yes, because it's closer and that's the only reason. I, too, am worried about traffic and the number of stores that will be here, but we'll see what it brings."

The store brings 400 jobs, according to the company. That's one reason Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan supported the store. Wal-Mart was the second largest retailer in Sandy before the old store closed.

Tom Dolan, Mayor of Sandy: "Having both those stores return will be a huge asset in terms of revenue that it provides for police, fire (and) our roads."

But not everyone is happy with Wal-Mart's labor practices. Members of Utah Jobs with Justice and the National Organization for Women will protest outside the store tonight. They'll be making noise around 6:00, so even though the store is open, the political contention continues.


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