Posted by Mick Dumke today at 12.37 PM
Officially it was a ribbon cutting, but the ceremony on Tuesday for the opening of Chicago’s newest Walmart looked and felt more like a homecoming pep rally merged with a revival meeting—if such things were held inside shiny big-box stores plastered with corporate logos.
A marching band ripped through anthems like Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” (“Da-dadda-dadda-da, hey!”). There were group cheers and sing-alongs. Preachers did a little praying and blessing. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Anthony Beale gave speeches to rousing applause. Residents of the Pullman and Roseland community were exchanging hugs and high fives.
And there was a consistent refrain throughout: Walmart might be the only thing that can save this distressed, high-crime urban area littered with abandoned industrial sites.