STOCKTON, CA- The new Stockton Walmart held its grand opening celebration on Wednesday, July 18 at the Spanos Park West shopping district in North Stockton.
“It’s a great pleasure to be here today and welcome the Walmart family to Stockton,” said Stockton Mayor, Ann Johnston at the ceremony.
In a time of financial difficulties for Stockton, having a new major retailer opening its doors will provide sales tax revenue for the city, added Stockton`s Mayor.
Located in 10355 Trinity Parkway, the 212,000-square-foot store brings approximately 380 new jobs to the community.
“I know firsthand of the quality of careers that you can have at Walmart,” said store manager, Larisa Lujan.
“I started with Walmart 13 years ago. I was 18 years old; I came from Ukraine and started as a cashier. My story is not unique; Walmart nationwide embraces everyone and gives them great career opportunities.”
However, the debate if Walmart is a poison or antidote for communities like Stockton continues.
Many worry about the impact Walmart will have on small businesses, other say it will benefit local businesses as additional customers are attracted to the regional shopping area.
Yet shoppers seem to like the “always low prices” and the 24/7 schedule offered by the world’s largest retailer. In fact, just before 8 a.m. some were already lined up outside the doors ready to shop.
“Walmart will be a great community partner with the area’s nonprofits and neighbors,” said Mark Martinez, CEO of the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SJCHC).
During Wednesday`s ribbon cutting ceremony, the Walmart Foundation presented a total of $33,000 in donation money to community organizations. $25, 0000 for the SJCHC Foundation and $8,000 among Stockton Emergency Food Bank, the Greater Yosemite Council Boy Scouts of America and United Way.
“Just this year Walmart gave our Chamber a large grant to help fund our Student Financial Aid and College Awareness Workshop that will help families plan for higher education,” said Martinez.
The Student Financial Aid Workshop is a partnership between the University of Pacific and Stockton Unified School District that hires SJCHC to coordinate volunteers that help students fill out FASFA forms.