WE WELCOME ALL, BIG AND SMALL. One of our members voiced concern to me about Walmart and its impact on small business. A rumor keeps floating around about Walmart locating at Macdonald and San Pablo in Richmond and where that rumor began, I don’t know. At any rate, the business owner told me Walmart could undercut prices and take much of his business. “What is the Chamber’s position…?” he asked.
I brought up the subject at our Board of Directors meeting and all the directors had heard those concerns before. Remember OSH, Home Depot, and Target when they came to town? Directors were in agreement that it is the Chamber’s mission to support all business locating here. There is plenty of room for competition and any business operator has an opportunity to get a piece of the action.
Walmart seems to push people’s buttons and raise red flags. “Unfair to organized labor” is one complaint, but personally I see no difference between them and Target, which was a Chamber member until they left El Cerrito. The “big is bad” theory would have Home Depot killing Pastime Hardware, but both seem to thrive. Pastime offers excellent customer service; try finding that at the big orange box!
Consumers love choices. They also like big box stores, low prices and imported “stuff” all while complaining about the lack of local stores, fewer jobs, and a lower standard of living. Fickle? You’d better believe it. The upshot from the Board of Directors is that we will support all business and prefer any business to abandoned stores.
SPEAKING OF EC BUSINESS, Hi-Tech Car Audio, 10538 San Pablo Avenue, is in the midst of a major remodeling project. The new showroom should be open by the end of this month. Over on Stockton Avenue (6900 block), Jenny K and Well Grounded Tea & Coffee Bar are also expanding. The gift shop will move into a much larger space at the west end of the same building and the coffee bar will add seating in what is now the gift shop. Maybe the store will be known as the Jenny K Gift Emporium. Timelines for this are not written in stone due to (a) contractors and (b) permitting, but keep watch for changes later this month.
ALBANY'S BIG EVENT, the Solano Stroll, is on September 9th. This year Marty’s Motors will have a booth (1400 block). Visit Marty for your free gift. Other El Cerrito Chamber members signed up for the Stroll include Marketplace magazine (1201); Bay Area News Group (1205 & 1498); Playland-Not-at-the-Beach (1490).
GAMBLING WAS ONCE BIG BUSINESS in El Cerrito. Take a look back on September 30th with Dave Weinstein of the El Cerrito Historical Society when he conducts a tour to some former local gaming sites. Meet at Eagles Hall, 3233 Carlson Blvd., at 1:30 p.m., for a walking tour. RSVP to Dave at (510) 524-1737 for this interesting program.
FRIENDS OF THE CERRITO present The Manchurian Candidate on September 13th. Cerrito Classics are fun. Enjoy a movie, pizza, and become a Friend.