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Responding to loss of Albertsons’ local jobs

Duane Wallace and Kathy Farrell

The Chambers of Commerce were deeply saddened by the announcement of the closing of Albertsons market. The loss of 62 jobs is a terrible blow. The loss is even greater when the jobs of companies supplying that store are included. Our hope is that the families of the affected employees will be able to find other local jobs. We don’t want to lose them from our town.

Store Manager Mike Patton has been a fine community member. Besides donating to local causes, he has shown up to work alongside we locals to improve our town. Other “big box” managers such a Safeway have followed suit. Many of the Albertsons employees have also given back to the community. That will also be missed.

When a large business such as Albertsons goes out of business it is more noticeable. However, there are many small local businesses that have struggled and finally succumbed to the same fate. The national and state competitive forces and regulatory issues that cause business closures are much larger in scale than our chambers and local governments can have a large affect on.

We still need to try to make some difference. The City of South Lake Tahoe has hired an economic development person and she is getting right to the job of helping the chambers create a better economy. Grant funds are available with more being applied for. The SLT Chamber is part of a new El Dorado County Chambers program called “Neighboromics.” The Web site is http://www.neighboromics.com. The idea is to get more businesses networking and supporting each other. The housing task force is working on lowering the cost of workforce housing by breaking down the regulatory barriers to building properly placed and responsibly built housing. Increased supply should help lower the cost. The convention/events center will help create year-round jobs as well as help offset the shoulder seasons.

We are all in this situation together. Big businesses, small businesses and our local population need to push for the triple-bottom line of protecting the environment, while also improving our local economy and the social fabric of our community. As the two chambers merge, our desire is to further concentrate our efforts. We can’t solve all the problems, but, we can work hard together on the ones where we can make a difference.

This was a wake up call. We will miss our friends at Albertsons. There is work to do. The chambers are going to the best we can to fight for better paying more stable year-round jobs.

– Duane Wallace is CEO of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. Kathy Farrell is CEO of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce.


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