Through two years of planning and permitting, it never quite seemed real - that a 152,373-square-foot superstore would be built in south Gardnerville between sleepy fields and a roadside tire store.
But construction has begun. Walmart is now a reality. And we can't pretend to know all the effects it will have on Carson Valley.
Some businesses may struggle to compete with the world's largest retailer, while others may find strength they didn't know they had. What we do know is that the massive store will forever change the small town we call home - for better or worse. It will change the physical landscape, along with proposed development all the way to Pine Nut Road, and it will change the social and economic landscape.
We're not ignorant of all the horror stories associated with the corporation over the years, especially its devastating effects on small businesses, but we also know that knee-jerk reactionism often distorts the facts. Once someone gets a bad name, it's hard to shake the reputation, no matter how much good they do.
We do know there are many people who prefer to shop at Walmart for their large inventory and low prices, and we believe consumers have every right to choose where they spend their hard-earned dollars. If other businesses want those dollars, they're going to have to work extra hard and offer something that Walmart doesn't offer.
When the dust finally settles, when the superstore becomes a familiar sight on the skyline, the best we can hope for is that Walmart will be an asset to the community rather than a detriment.