Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 21
Walmart to open more stores in Santa Maria
BY JEREMY THOMAS
Leaders of the big-box retailer Walmart announced on July 25 plans to add two new grocery-style Neighborhood Markets in Santa Maria.
The stores are planned for 500 S. Blosser Road, near the intersection of Boone Street, and at 2240 S. Bradley Road, next to the existing Walmart Supercenter in the Crossroads Shopping Center.
In a press release, Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said the markets would “bring fresh and affordable groceries into surrounding areas” and would add about 130 jobs to the city.
The announcement included a statement from Santa Maria Mayor Larry Lavagnino, expressing his support.
“I am looking forward to the new Walmart Neighborhood Markets coming into Santa Maria,” Lavagnino said. “The two stores will be a welcome addition to our city and will help generate new jobs and more economic activity for neighboring businesses.”
The announcement comes on the heels of other Walmart expansions on the Central Coast. After years of resistance from local grassroots organizations, Walmart received the go-ahead in May 2011 to expand an existing store by 41,000 square feet, after the Lompoc City Council denied an appeal by the group Citizens Against Walmart Expansion (CAWE). The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Former Lompoc City Council candidate Robert Cuthbert, who battled Walmart as head of the CAWE, said that according to his research, Walmart stores come into direct competition with small businesses, resulting in a net loss of jobs.
“For the Santa Maria mayor to say this is going to create jobs, it’s just not looking at the facts. It’s just going to more or less exchange jobs for lower-paying jobs,” Cuthbert said. “Walmart is all about profit at the expense of their workers. It’s not a hard decision.”
After almost seven years of planning, Walmart received approval from the Atascadero City Council in June to build a Supercenter there, scheduled to open in 2014. Walmart has also announced plans to build a third store in Oxnard.
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