Wave Goodbye to Ma and Pa


Posted by Annie in Opinion, Political, Tuolumne County on October 5, 2011

Expect to see more local “Ma & Pa” businesses to go under, as the county Board of Supervisors further relaxes their permit process. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the entire process is too arduous and discourages new business development. However, inviting more “big box” retail establishments into the area won’t grow our economy.

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Sonora, CA - Small Town, USA

Big-box rule change OK’d

Written by Chris Caskey,
The Union Democrat
October 05, 2011 03:10 pm

It will be easier to build a “big box” retail store in Tuolumne County than it used to be.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved changes to the county ordinance code to loosen up regulations on large-scale retail developments in the county.
The motivation behind the changes, said Community Resources Agency Director Bev Shane, is to encourage economic development with fewer restrictions.
[Read more…]

No wonder the board has voted to place a ban on medical marijuana dispenseries, they are planning to cater to the likes of Lowe’s and Walmart. We are losing our small town charm, with our small business establishments. One by one we will begin to lose more and more of our locally owned, small-town businesses that employ the locals.

Maybe you haven’t noticed but we’ve seen a huge influx of chain stores coming to Sonora — the problem is they are bringing valley workers to staff them, instead of hiring local residents, which is partially to blame for the crowded streets we are all experiencing.

We need to do more to encourage small business owners to set up shop in Tuolumne County. Doesn’t anyone on that board have an economics degree? Maybe the county should splurge to hire someone.

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Wal-Mart Expansion Concerns Voiced


Posted by Annie in Tuolumne County on February 11, 2010

A public hearing was held Monday evening regarding Wal-Mart’s expansion plans at their Sonora location. Many who attended the hearing expressed their legitimate concerns over the impact such an expansion will have on our entire community.

Walt Cook covered the hearing for The Union Democrat.

Speakers at the Sonora Planning Commission hearing accused the Arkansas-based retailer of, among other things, killing mom-and-pop shops and smaller regional chain stores, contributing to blight and increasing the United States’ trade deficit with China.

Wal-Mart’s expansion plans for the Sonora store include keeping it open around the clock and increasing its retail space from 130,166 to 158,532 square-feet to accommodate a full-service grocery section. The local store currently sells limited groceries.

Tuolumne county has lost a great many stores, restaurants and other businesses, due to the failing economy. We should all be concerned about the future of not only Sonora businesses but others in Tuolumne county as well that could feel the effects of the planned expansion.

Since Mervyn’s and Gottschalks have gone out of business, many families are forced to either shop for apparel at Wal-Mart, shop at Ross or drive to Oakdale. If you are looking for cheap, disposable clothing, Wal-Mart is a perfect option. Some of us prefer to buy well-fitting clothing, not made by sweatshop workers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like shopping at Ross but their inventory fluctuates so widely, you can never count on finding certain items there. It’s hit or miss.

Our family has been shopping as much as possible at the Twain Harte Market, we love the selection, the people are friendly and work hard to meet the needs of their customers. The meat department is the finest to be found anywhere in the area. I am terrified that a Super-Wal-Mart store will put them out of business.

If you want to be able to decide where to shop and not be limited to Wal-Mart’s low cost, low quality, low selection — just stay home. If you are concerned about the challenges facing our community, please attend the next hearing and voice your own concerns.

Once the Wal-Mart expansion is complete, there is no going back. It will impact many businesses in Tuolumne County.

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