More than 250 city, civic and business leaders joined store manager Alton Wheeler in opening Pleasanton's new Walmart Neighborhood Market on Santa Rita Road Wednesday morning in a festive ceremony.
Many of the store's 85 employees (called associates) gathered next to Wheeler as the combined colorguard from the Pleasanton posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posted the colors in front of a small stage where one of the employees also sang the national anthem.
Besides Wheeler, Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne and Scott Raty, president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce also gave welcoming speeches. The ceremony closed with a benediction and then Walmart chants and singing by the employees, all dressed in Walmart-green shirts.
A group of about 20 Walmart protesters, including former City Councilman Matt Sullivan, lined Santa Rita Road in front of the Walmart parking lot passing out flyers objecting to "low wage jobs" at the non-unionized Walmart stores.