We’re glad The Union offered the community a chance to weigh in on the news that Walmart is moving forward with plans for a new store in North Auburn. Since there seemed to also be some misinformation about our company, I’d like to offer up the facts about Walmart.
For decades, customers from Nevada and Placer counties have traveled significant distances to shop at our stores in Roseville, Folsom and recently in Lincoln. A Walmart in north Auburn will offer a more convenient place to access our merchandise and prices — saving time and money. We believe customers always appreciate having more affordable choices close to where they live and work.
We’ve made efforts in recent years to be an even better company by leading the way on important issues like health care, jobs for veterans, hunger and nutrition. For example, in 2011, we made a commitment to make healthier food more accessible and affordable, and since our commitment, customers have saved $2.3 billion on fresh fruits and vegetables. Beginning this past Memorial Day, we began offering jobs to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first 12 months off active duty. Since then, we have hired more than 14,000 veterans, and we project that we will hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years.
We help save customers money on things they need like pharmacy products. We offer hundreds of prescriptions at $4 for a 30-day supply through our Affordable Prescription Program — our customers have saved more than $4.8 billion on their prescriptions since the program launched in 2006.
We’re also working to help revitalize U.S. manufacturing. At the recent U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Orlando, we announced we will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products over the next 10 years and will continue to work with our suppliers to look for opportunities to bring back and buy more domestically manufactured products.
Our stores benefit local economies indirectly, as well. As we’ve seen nationwide and here in California, Walmart stores often serve as magnets for other new businesses. Here in California, independent research has shown that on average, communities with a Walmart enjoy general business growth and an increase in citywide taxable retail sales. In fact, the small businesses that surround our stores generally have products and services we don’t offer or are strong in areas where we can’t compete. While north Auburn is certainly a competitive marketplace for large retailers, we look forward to bringing economic vitality to the small and medium retail spaces along Highway 49 near our planned store.
The north Auburn store will employ hundreds, and we’re proud of our jobs — they are some of the best in the industry, and they offer real opportunities for career growth. Walmart employs nearly 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in Placer County, and our wages and benefits meet or exceed what most competitors offer. Our average, hourly full-time wage in California is $13.03. Our health care plans are available to eligible full- and part-time associates, including a plan available for as little as $17 bi-weekly. We also offer a 401K plan with up to a 6 percent company match, stock purchase programs, merchandise discounts and a quarterly bonus plan based on store performance.
Our jobs offer a chance for people to work hard and climb the ladder from stockers or cashiers to department managers, store managers and beyond. Every day, hundreds of Walmart associates get promoted to positions with more pay and responsibility. In fact, nearly two-thirds of our store management teams started as hourly associates. Our managers earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year — similar to what firefighters, accountants and even doctors make.
We’re excited to bring affordable goods and groceries closer to Nevada County residents and look forward to providing more choices to customers seeking new ways to live better.
Rachel Wall is senior manager of community affairs with Walmart.