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New Folsom restaurateur optimistic following election

Local business community looks for economic upswing
By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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Election Day was more than just casting a ballot for one business owner in Folsom, it was about hope. At 3 p.m. on Election Day, Julie Oliver inked a five-year lease for a restaurant she plans to open by mid-December. Thoughts of the election, and its outcome, weighed heavily on her as she signed the lease, she said, but she doesn’t discuss politics or her choice for president. “The election was a sign of hope for the future,” she said. “I’m hopeful for (the economy) to start looking up.” The Acorn Café will be going into the spot on Natoma Street that previously housed The Moveable Feast, which shut its doors a few months ago. Opening a restaurant in the current economic climate comes with risks but she believes she’ll have a built-in customer base with Folsom City Hall and the Police Department located across the street. She said there are enough office workers within a two-block radius, as well as drive-by traffic, to help build on that base. “I’ve had a lot of people question my judgment to open a restaurant with the economy the way it is,” she said. “But there is a need here and the market looks solid.” She said she plans to offer espresso, coffee and tea as well as baked goods and more traditional lunch fare such as soups and sandwiches. Oliver has 20 years of restaurant experience and previously owned a catering business. Dennis Lynch, former owner of Hogshead Brewpub and other eateries, will be providing consulting services for the first six months of business, she said. Dave Roberts, owner of El Dorado Floor and Design of Folsom, expresses the same optimism regarding the future. “In an election year, you’re always optimistic, no matter who ends up in office,” Roberts said. As far as the economy, he said he hopes the country has seen the worst of it. “I’m hoping it’s bottomed out,” he said. “Six months ago, we were saying that, but it didn’t.” He said he hasn’t had to make any drastic changes to his business model, despite the downturn in the economy. “The strong survive,” he said. “You keep advertising and you stay open and you keep going.” Folsom Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Gagliardi agreed. “We’ve hopefully hit the bottom and (the economy) is on the upswing,” Gagliardi said. “Anytime there is change, no matter what way it is, there is some concern and also optimism.” Gagliardi said the chamber is taking steps to help small businesses survive and thrive. “We certainly have had people looking for new ways to do business and increase marketing opportunities,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re behind the ice skating rink in Historic Folsom. We’ve worked with the city and Folsom Historic District Association to get behind this and hopefully encourage families to shop local.”