COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — An expanded Walmart in Cottage Grove opened its doors to the community Wednesday.
This growth and other business expansion in Cottage Grove is boosting the economy.
Initially, Walmart said it would be hiring 60 new workers as the store expanded, but now city officials from Cottage Grove say that number will likely be much higher.
“That’s a substantial increase in employment there. They’re one of the top employers in the city,” said Richard Meyers, Cottage Grove City Manager.
In a town of just under 10,000 people, even a handful of jobs helps boost the economy.
“It’s huge,” Meyers said.
But Cottage Grove is looking at more than just a few jobs on top of Walmart’s expansion — the city is also in talks with a company building a call center.
“That would start with about 80 jobs, possibly expand to 200,” Meyers said.
And even before that deal is finalized. Meyers says, “Sixty new jobs even though they may be part time 30 hour and $10 an hour jobs, that’s huge. You’re looking at a million plus in payroll just by itself there.”
Mindy Roberts owns a higher end shoe and clothing store in downtown Cottage Grove called Shoe Strings. While some might call Walmart a competitor for her boutique, she says that’s not the case.
“I’d say it actually helped, because I think Walmart gives an opportunity for all customers of all economic levels to have a place to shop,” Roberts said.
And when she’s not running her store, she’s working with the Economic Business Improvement District, a group working to revitalize the city’s historic downtown.
“As you look in the shops you’ll see new shops opening up, businesses expanding, so it’s very exciting to be a part of that,” Roberts said.
So for a town that has residents from all types of economic backgrounds, people there say a little variety for shoppers in town can only help the city grow.