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Countdown to Best Buy & JC Penney

Expansion plans move forward despite rocky economic times

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Countdown to Best Buy & JC Penney

Best Buy and JC Penney are the next stores getting ready to open in The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley now being dubbed the Lifestyle Outlets at Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED February 7, 2009 5:28 a.m.
Best Buy is opening Feb. 27.

JC Penney’s doors open March 6.

China Express Food-4-Less has just opened its doors.

CVS Drug Store, McDonald’s, Valero Gas, and Prime Time Car Wash have all submitted building plans to the City of Manteca for new locations at Union and Lathrop roads.

Those five new businesses alone represent a $25 million plus vote of confidence in the future of Manteca’s economy.

It isn’t a point lost on Debby Moorhead in her dual role as Manteca City Councilman and the No. 1 private sector promoter of business in Manteca as executive director of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce.

“Given the nature of the economy to have JC Penney and Best Buy opening in Manteca is monumental,” Moorhead said.

Moorhead said it speaks to the long-term strength national retailers see in Manteca as well as it being at the epicenter of the growing Stockton-Modesto-Tracy region.

Unlike other regions hit by the foreclosure mess, Manteca is experiencing a relatively strong level of success of turning bank repossessed homes back into the hands of qualified buyers. There were a record 1,165 existing homes sold last year in Manteca with more than 90 percent being foreclosures. Existing home sales are on pace to sell 888 this year after recording 74 closed escrows in January. If the trend holds, it will be the second highest year for resales. Manteca new home builders sold 244 homes in 2008. Altogether there were 1,409 homes that had new owners last year within the city limits.

The number of available homes on the resale market has been steadily dropping since it reached a record peak of 651 in September 2007 despite new foreclosures hitting the market every week. As of Monday, there were 355 resale homes available in Manteca.

A high rate of homeownership is one of the demographics retailers look for when locating their stores. Manteca also has an average household income of $62,000 plus a million consumers within a 30-mile radius. It all helps to strengthen Manteca’s appeal.

Moorhead pointed that Manteca is fortunate to have positioned itself to have JC Penney opening just months after Mervyn’s closed as well as having Best Buy opening as Circuit City is conducting its going out of business sale.

At the same time, Moorhead didn’t downplay the tough times that businesses as well as families are going through with people holding back spending money partly out of uncertainty.

She noted that many local businesses are making it through the rough economic waters by working with each other.

Moorhead said attendance at the chamber’s weekly coffees have increased. The chamber is also adding new members.

“People understand the importance of local businesses working with each other,” Moorhead said.

The networking  at the weekly coffees often provide leads for new business.

The next coffee is Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the South County Crisis Center, 609 W. Center St.

For more information, call the chamber at 823-6121.
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