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Local Grocers Face Toughest Competition from Target, CIR Says

A community impact report that analyzes the effects of a proposed Target store in San Rafael was released today.

Grocery and drug stores would experience the most competition should a new Target be built at Shoreline Center in East San Rafael, according to the community impact report released today.

The community impact report, requested by the San Rafael City Council in December 2010, stated that the proposed 137,000-square-foot complex would result in 200 new jobs (164 of them retail jobs), a net increase of 3.6 percent total retail sales in San Rafael and a total $646,000 in revenues for the city.

The study, conducted by research and consulting firm AECOM in San Francisco, used Davis, Livermore, Napa, Novato, San Mateo and Walnut Creek as case studies for the possible effects of introducing a Target.

Target’s main competition would be local grocers and drug store owners, as opposed to home furnishing, electronic or home improvement stores, the report said.

AECOM estimates that Target’s competition with independent groceries would cause a 2.9 percent decrease in local sales by 2015. Facing the decrease, local storeowners could layoff 36 people, according to the report.

“That is way off,” said Bill Daniels, owner of United Markets in San Rafael and San Anselmo. “In groceries there’s no margin, so even a 2 percent decrease is tremendous.” But Daniels estimates that the decrease will really be around 8 to 10 percent.

United Markets, which specializes in local and organic products, employs 150 people, most of them full-time.

Despite the hit local grocers would take, AECOM said that overall local retail sales would increase by $44.5 million if a Target is approved. Currently, general merchandise stores are in short supply and many customers travel outside of southern Marin County to shop. A Target would fill this hole, according to AECOM.

At $646,000 in revenue, Target would also be in the city’s top five producers of sales tax, according to Economic Development Director Stephanie Lovette. Approximately 29 percent of the city’s budget relies on sales tax, and 24 percent on property tax.

Despite the impact on local businesses, many San Rafael, Fairfax and San Anselmo residents oppose a Target because of low pay compared to other local stores. Many believe that the corporate chain would not offer livable wages for locals and would instead attract employees from outside San Rafael.

“[Target] has to be competitive with other retail businesses,” Lovette said. “As far as commuting, that’s happening all over Marin.”

The report says that in 2009, 13 percent of local jobs were held by local residents, and 62 percent of San Rafael neighbors travel more than 10 miles to get to work.

Target employees without a benefits package would receive an annual salary of $18,000, eight percent less than similar businesses in San Rafael. Of the total employees hired by Target, 55 would be ineligible for benefits.

“What does that do to the community?” San Rafael resident Louise Yost at a rally on Monday. “When an employee [without benefits] is sick, they go to the county sponsored health clinic…so that county ends up paying the tab for health care. Now that’s not right.”

The City Council will review the community impact report and make a decision on April 21. Until then, Daniels hopes that council members will do a lot of “soul searching.”

“We’re not going to take this laying down,” he said.

Editor's note: In an earlier version of this article it stated that Target would employ 164 retails jobs, which is true To clarify, the new Target will hire a total of 200 jobs, and 164 of those jobs are in retail.

Jonathan Frieman April 06, 2011 at 11:46 PM
There is SO much lacking with the CIR I almost cannot even begin, but here's a few points: 1) Only 13% of SR jobs are held by SR residents. That would worsen with Target, no matter what they promise about how they will focus employment in the Canal--not gonna happen, and, legally, caNOT happen. 2) AECOM's presumptions of population growth in Marin did not take into account the recent Census report. Thus their assessment that there will be increased demand is off. The market will be saturated--locally-owned businesses will be hurt badly. 3) No indication given as to what Target employee must pay for health benefits. Sure, an employee may be eligible for benefits, but will they be able to afford them? 4) $18K average per employee?! That's outrageous in and of itself -- what is the median, that is, what is the central tendency, since most are part time and unbenefited? Obviously it would be at the low end. And $18K is $8.70 an hour, beFORE taxes. Yikes! 5) Novato--"may have been affected by Vintage Oaks?" BBS all together 6) 74 jobs lost on conservative estimate, which is almost 2 jobs per downtown biz, right within all the studies' estimates
Stewart Ross April 07, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Hey Jonny baby, stop the nonsense. we need the sales tax. You SEIU guys should take a hike and go back where you came from.
David M Lowe April 07, 2011 at 01:50 AM
I TOLD YOU DANIELS WAS THE MAIN PLAYER BEHIND THIS ! LOOKS LIKE YOU WILL HAVE SOME COMPETITION FOR YOUR HIGH PRICED UNITED MARKETS AND IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Jane Gray April 07, 2011 at 03:08 AM
I SHOP AT BOTH UNITED AND SAFEWAY, AND TRAVEL TO NOVATO DOLLAR TREE FOR REAL BARGAINS, WORK TWO PART TIME JOBS AS A SENIOR CITIZEN, THEY PAY NO MEDICAL ON EITHER JOB BUT I AM BLESSED TO AT LEAST HAVE PT JOBS! AT 67!. YOU HAVE YOU HIGH END, WE NEED OUR LOW END,YOU ALSO HAVE THE TWO BIG EXPENSIVE MALLS, SO YES YES YES ON TARGET FOR THE REST OF US TO SHOP IN !!!
Jane Gray April 07, 2011 at 03:10 AM
. HALF OF MARIN IS MILLIONAIRES, THE REST OF US POOR WORKING STIFFS NEED THE TYPE OF STORE THAT TARGET OFFERS. BUT NOT FOR MY GROCERIES. I HAVE PRICED THEM, THEY ARE HIGHER THAN UNITED!!! ON MUCH OF WHAT THEY SELL. IT IS THE OTHER ITEMS WE NEED, CHILDREN'S CLOTHING FOR EXAMPLE, WE CANNOT AFFORD THE POSH KIND OF STORES FOR CHILDREN'S CLOTHING,,, AND SHOES FOR EXAMPLE, WE CANNOT ALL AFFORD BERKENSTALK~~~!!
Jane Gray April 07, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I WORKED IN THE HOME CARE INDUSTRY FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS, THEN ONE AGENCY IN KENTFIELD HIRED HATTIANS BY THE BOAT LOAD,THEY MOVE IN, AND RARELY SEE HOME OR THEIR FAMILIES, AND THEY TOOK OVER MANY JOBS. SO HAVE OTHER FORIEGN PEOPLE COMING IN THRU DOMINICAN. PUT ME OUT OF WORK. THEY GOT MY JOBS. SO I MOVED ON. MARIN IS SO HIGH PRICED TO LIVE HERE,,,, RENTS OVER ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. THEN THERE ARE THE ILLEGALS, AND THE LATINO'S IN THE CANAL,,,YOU RICH FOLKS KNOW YOU HIRE THEM ALL- CASH, OFF THE STREETS AND THRU THE CANAL COMMUNITY ALLIANCE, MORE JOBS LOST TO LOCALS. I JUST BOUGHT A SMALL WATERMELON FROM UNITED, COST? $7.15 !!! YELLOW RIND INSIDE, WEIRD TASTING MELON ON THE INSIDE, FROM MEXICO, I AM TAKING IT BACK AS SOON AS I GET OFF LINE TONIGHT,,,,,, WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE WILL BE RICH FOLKS WHO SHOP AT UNITED AND WHOLE FOODS, TRADOR JOE'S, AND THERE WILL BE SOME WHO SHOP AT TARGET HERE IN SAN RAFAEL. IT IS THIS BAD ECONOMY THAT THE HIGH END MARKETS ARE SCREAMING ABOUT, EVERYONE OUT FOR THEIR FAIR SHARE. SOME SAID AT A COUNCIL MEETING THAT THEY WOULD "NEVER" SHOP AT A TARGET STORE. FINE, WE HEAR YOU, BUT WE LOW INCOME PEOPLE WHO HANG ON BY OUR ELDERLY FINGERNAILS, NEED BARGAINS!
Jane Gray April 07, 2011 at 03:20 AM
Yes YES YESSSSSSS ON TARGET STORE IN SAN RAFAEL, WE NEED SOME AFFORDABLE CLOSE BY DISCOUNT STORES LIKE TARGET! THE REALLY IS NOT ONLY ABOUT JOBS, IT IS ABOUT BEING REASONABLE, THE PRESTIEGE OF MARIN WILL AT LEAST HAVE A PLACE FOR THE PEEONS TO GO TO FIND CHEAPER ITEMS! LOL
Jane Gray April 07, 2011 at 03:23 AM
I WISH I HAD THE MONEY THAT HAS BEEN SPENT ON ALL THE "NO ON TARGET SIGNS AND STICKERS! I AM SURE THAT THERE WILL BE LOSS, BUT WE CANNOT SHUT THE DOORS ON PROGRESS, YOU WANT SERVANTS TO SERVICE MARIN? THEN THEY NEED A TARGET STORE! CLEAR AND SIMPLE. HEY TARGET, CONTACT ME AT jANG9333@AOL.COM AND GIVE ME A GOOD JOB FOR A GOOD WOMAN WHO IS POOR!! SMILE! WELL I CAN TRY!
McCoy April 07, 2011 at 03:34 AM
While driving through SR a while back I saw the NO (TARGET) sign and wondered why folks wouldn't want a Target. Thanks for this article, it was super informative. I don't want to encourage stores that don't give health benefits. My husband works in the Emergency room at Marin General and that is an expensive and untenable way to get primary care, a route that folks who don't have health care have to go. You've convinced me that a Target in SR is a bad idea. That being said I will probably still stop in the one in the East Bay every four months or so for kid's items.
Jonathan Frieman April 07, 2011 at 04:38 AM
Mr. Ross, I have no relationship with SEIU at all. Please do debate the issue encapsulated above in the article instead of flaming me personally. It doesn't help anyone else to make a decision. And just "need[ing] the sales tax" is not enough reason to bring devastation to our city, as the report shows. The city and the community could find many ways to bring more people downtown and to surrounding areas to increase the sales tax receipts. Thank you for listening.
Jonathan Frieman April 07, 2011 at 04:39 AM
Mr. Lowe, Daniels is not the main player behind this. If your knew what was really going on behind the scenes, you'd be apoplectic.
Jonathan Frieman April 07, 2011 at 04:42 AM
Thanks for your comment. It's not only the health care that the county pays for. There are a lot of other issues, as well, as will come out over the next couple of weeks.
Kathleen Gaines April 07, 2011 at 03:45 PM
We already have a Target store in Marin, a county of about 250,000 people. The San Rafael location is most likely attractive to Target corporation because of the large workforce right over the bridge in the East Bay, and because it’s cheap to build on landfill. They know that at $18,000 a year maximum wages that Target workers be unable to live in Marin. I'd be interested to see a report detailing how many of the Novato store employees actually live in Marin. Borders caused several independent bookstores to close. And now Borders has taken its profits and has closed, leaving a large ugly empty building in a prime location. The proposed San Rafael Target will unlikely create new jobs for Marin residents, it is not accessible by public transportation, and will save southern Marin residents less than 10 minutes drive time from the Novato store. Is it worth it? I believe not. San Rafael should look for tax revenues elsewhere. Target is a short-term tax solution and a bad investment in San Rafael’s prosperity.
Stewart Ross April 07, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Low income people need a place to shop in San Rafael. how come the agitators (many of them from outside ) do not care about these people. I'll tell you why. Many of them are union people who support destroying any non-union enterprise in the hope that they will get their support for their outlandish pensions and benefits. As far as the claim that Fairfax or San Anselmo residents are close by and have a right to get involved in San Rafael matters, nonsense. We have our own government. Frankly, the police, fire and school districts should be consolidated but the good old boys like Boro want to keep their own fiefdom.
Stewart Ross April 07, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Make California a RIGHT TO WORK state.
jill April 07, 2011 at 06:14 PM
People are fighting Target and other big boxes. Why not fight the government, both local and federal? They are the ones that make it so expensive for the small guy to do business. Target, Walmart, etc have economies of scale to offset government. You do not. Look, you put Susan Adams in office in San Rafael and Al Boro. Both are anti capitalism which means they are against business whether it be big or small. They are activists and not leaders. They care more about the illegals than they do americans. Do you think Target, Mi Pueblo and the $100m health center for illegals was by coincidence? HELL NO, Susan Adams and Al Boro invited them into Marin. The illegals need a place to shop! That is the insanity going on. Don't fight Target, fight Susan Adams and Al Boro. They are the ones that hate America.
jill April 07, 2011 at 06:16 PM
and if you unionize you will drive up prices as good earth which will lead to putting them out of business. Look no further than government to see that unions destroy things. If you want a union, go live in a communist country.
Stewart Ross April 07, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Jill, I think I love you. you are so right on. if you notice, Jonny is part of a group set up to fight Target. That's what he does while you and I are just concerned SAN RAFAEL citizens wanting to save a buck and fight unions.
jill April 07, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Anyone ever notice United Markets buys food that is about to expire? United is not an efficiently run business. Target will make United more efficient and more profitable. This is what happens with competition. Bill Daniels didn't fight Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Mi Puebloe did he? Of course not. He figured there was room for them. What he is really concerned about is that once people drive out to Target they will then swing by Mi Pueblo for groceries. And they should, Mi Pueblo is way less for equal to better quality when it comes to staples. Bill is also concerned that he will have to now work for his money rather than relaxing in his mega mansion in Tahoe. If I was Bill, I would have sold out. I don't blame Bill. He should really be going after the elected officials who have created this sanctuary city. They are marxists trying to spread the wealth to the illegals. A little bird told me that an Applebee's or similiar is being sought after to be placed near the Target. I just heard the rumour but Susan Adams and Al Boro know.
David Selig April 07, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Mr. Frieman, Daniels and his ilk are the main voices behind the NO campaign. He's quoted everywhere, has hired a PR firm to get his "no" message out and, along with his cronies, are the primary funders of the NO campaign. My observation: if United Markets can't conceive of a way to provide better customer service and higher quality groceries than Target, Daniels should look at himself squarely in the mirror realize it's HIS problem, not Target's. Honestly, all of the other "facts" you people keep distorting to further your highly transparent agenda is a joke.
Ross Stewart April 07, 2011 at 11:36 PM
If you think Daniels is main voice, you are mistook, and it's not fact that there's a PR firm. get a hande on the facts before you speak!
Edwin Drake April 08, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Quiz for Stewart Ross: How much sales tax do you think Costco gives Novato? How about Vintage Oaks, including car dealers?
Edwin Drake April 08, 2011 at 12:08 AM
I'm low income, and I won't shop at Target. being low income means worrying more about people than profits. If target wants to come in, then let them build an overpass from Anderson to shoreline, or the transition of 101 North to 580 East. Plus, that area should be parkland.
Stewart Ross April 08, 2011 at 08:03 AM
Google Frieman
Ross Stewart April 08, 2011 at 10:08 PM
The Frieman who's running things is the jerk in Maryland. He's the one that needs to be stopped.

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