On July 20, 2006, Sprawl-Busters reported that a group called the Concerned Citizens of Folsom had organized to stop a proposed 208,412 s.f. Wal-Mart supercenter on 25 acres of land off of Iron Point Road in Folsom, California. The company already has an existing Wal-Mart discount store in the city, which it is also trying to expand. This week, a local activist sent out this short note to her anti-Wal-Mart email list: “Great news, everyone! Wal Mart has officially withdrawn their application for the Iron Point Store. Additionally, the City is requiring that the proposed Wal Mart Supercenter undergoes an Environmental Impact Review for the expansion.” The Folsom Telegraph confirmed the news this week, reporting that Folsom would remain a “one Wal-Mart town.” The news ended almost a one year battle to stop the superstore. In April, 2006, the retailer announced its intention to build a second store in Folsom — but now the company has pulled its superstore plans as of March 21, 2007, with no explanation. Instead, company officials indicate they will focus on converting its existing discount store into a supercenter by addilng 26,000 s.f. to the back of the store, allowing the interior square footage to include a full line grocery department. The expanded Folsom store would be a total of 153,678 s.f. The existing discount store was only built in 1992 — but Wal-Mart has shut down hundreds of discount stores of that vintage to make way for their larger, more profitable superstores. A city spokeswoman said the permit process, including an Environmental Impact Report, could take nine to 12 months to complete.
Anti Wal-Mart sentiment has spread across California like a brush fire, jumping from community to community. In Folsom, the expansion project will have to undergo a state environmental quality review process, which gives opponents a chance to research the adverse impacts that Wal-Mart’s experts will never talk about. The fact is, there is no market need for another grocery store in Folsom, and its arrival will not add jobs or sales tax revenues, because the store’s presence will largely displace existing economic activity at other area grocers. As those other retailers die off, consumers in Folsom will find themselves stuck in Wal-Mart prison. As the competition withers, Wal-Mart’s everyday low prices don’t have to be as competitive anymore. To contact the Concerned Citizens of Folsom, e-mail [email protected] or write P.O. Box 6204 Folsom, CA 95763. For earlier stories, search Newsflash by “Folsom.”