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Residents protest planned Walmart in Whitehall

5:52 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Residents in Muskegon County united Friday to speak out against a Walmart store that could be built in their community. The retail chain has informed Whitehall Township leaders it wants to build a superstore on a 30 acre site.

Friday, the power of social media and community activism was on display as nearly 100 people protested the plan. Brian Bepristis created the 'Keep Walmart out of Whitehall and Montague' Facebook page and asked followers to join him at Noon.

Frits Kwant showed up, as did Jan Klco because of what she witnessed when Walmart arrived in Big Rapids.

"They decimated the local business. The lumberyard went out, the grocery stores went out, the fruit markets went out," said Klco.

"These small business will have great difficulty in surviving should Walmart succeed in moving here," Kwant added.

The protesters believe a "big box" store like Walmart will destroy the character of Whitehall. But not everyone in the community is opposed to a new business locating to the area.

"If there is one there, I will be shopping there, yes I will," Rothbury resident John Moore told WZZM 13. "Lots of people my wife and I know say they are looking forward to it. I am interested in getting the most for my money."

Walmart will submit plans to Whitehall Township leaders for the store in May.

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