Renovation of Walmart's Folsom store is timely

By: Joe Gagliardi, CEO, Folsom Chamber of Commerce
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Our community has proven to be a great place raise a family and to do business — even during the toughest of economic times — and this is especially the case in comparison with neighboring communities. The city’s conservative approach to government spending and its desire to foster business development has contributed to its distinction of having the lowest unemployment rate and home foreclosure rate in Sacramento County. As a result, we enjoy a good quality of life as our city leaders continue to deliver critical public services that keep our parks open, our city clean, and our neighborhoods and schools safe. This is no accident, but a clear recognition on the part of our city leaders that Folsom is dependent on a strong and vibrant business community. As Mayor Jeff Starsky stated before the Folsom Chamber of Commerce recently, the city needs to remain steadfast in its goal of protecting our local economy and implementing economic development initiatives that are inviting to new employers, while encouraging existing employers to expand and create new jobs. These are not times to be complacent. Rather, it is time to implement an aggressive economic recovery plan and remove barriers for local businesses that want to grow and create jobs in Folsom. One such opportunity is Walmart’s plans to renovate and expand its aging Folsom store, thereby contributing to the growth of Folsom’s Central Business District while revitalizing one of the city’s oldest retail shopping centers. Walmart’s plan for Folsom includes creating an additional 85 quality jobs. And according to a study by Navigant Consulting, an international economic consulting firm, the big winners are more often communities struggling to increase sales tax revenue to fund city services and reduce retail vacancy rates. Commercial real estate brokers confirm these findings by pointing to the fact that the popularity of Walmart drives more customers to shopping centers, providing neighboring small business owners greater exposure to new customers who may be unfamiliar with their products and services — especially for those who have limited advertising budgets. All of this also creates greater demand for vacant retail space. While these may not be the best of times, it is time to grow our economy one business at a time. Whether it is Folsom’s addition of a high tech firm such as Numonyx or the expansion of our local Walmart store, expanding employment and business opportunities is critical to protecting Folsom’s way of life. Joe Gagliardi is president and CEO of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. He can be contacted through the Web site at