The News: The controversial Wildman’s Civil War Surplus store in downtown Kennesaw reopened this week, prompting one city council member to resign and his daughter to put her building across the street up for sale.
Background: Wildman’s has been in downtown Kennesaw for 50 years and was owned by Dent Myers, a controversial figure who gained national attention over the years for owning the memorabilia store, which has long been criticized for the items inside including Ku Klux Klan and Nazi paraphernalia. Myers died in January at age 90. The store has been closed ever since.
Reopening: Myers’ longtime secretary and friend Marjorie Lyon applied for permits to reopen the store under a trust named Dent Myers Enterprises Inc. The city of Kennesaw issued business license, allowing the store to reopen.
New Controversy: While city officials say the business license process included on-site inspections and Wildman’s underwent the same process as all other businesses, one city councilman and his daughter are doubting that.
The council member, James “Doc” Eaton, is resigning from city council effective June 21 over the matter. In his resignation letter, Eaton claims “there is a laundry list of code violations that have been overlooked for years as the previous owner was ‘grandfathered’ in.” Eaton claims there is an “institutional problem” that allows the store to continue operating.
“I cannot in good conscious continue to be associated with a system that will allow this to continue in our community,” Eaton said in his letter of resignation.
Eaton’s daughter, Chris Eaton Welsh, owns a chiropractic business across the street from Wildman’s and said in a social media post that she is selling her building.
“I will lay down the mantle and move on to a place that is in congruence with my heart. I want for a community that I am proud of,” Welsh said.
City officials say they have received a barrage of feedback from both supporters and detractors of the store reopening.
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