Business

New AutoZone store opens in Firebaugh

Friday, May 06, 2011

The grand opening of a small business doesn't usually make news. But today it did because it happened in a place where unemployment is sky high.

The new is located at Highway 33 and 11th Street in Firebaugh.

Antonio Gomez needs this part to put new struts on his car before the new Auto Zone store opened in Firebaugh on Friday he would have to drive all the way to Fresno to get parts he needs.

"To return a part they give me the wrong part."

Many others lined up to shop in the new store.

Firebaugh City Manager Jose Ramirez hopes having a national company will attract other businesses to this town where unemployment hovers around 30 percent. Plans are in place to add a McDonalds, Subway, and Payless Shoe Store on these adjoining lots. The city has already installed public utilities to support new businesses which will bring more money.

"This puts us in a position to be more competitive, more jobs, increase our sales tax base."

Just across the street, Randy Gonzales' Family Auto Parts Store has been Firebaugh for 53 years. He fears mom-and pop stores will lose money against national chains.

"It's going to be a big hurt to us."

Firebaugh already has nearly a half dozen autoparts suppliers, he says what the town needs are jobs.

"The majority of people who live in town work out of town so they do a lot of shopping out of town."

Autozone has already provided 8 new positions, and Ramirez says additional stores could create as many as 150 new jobs attracting out of town customers who will patronize all businesses in the city.

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Tags:
firebaugh, fresno county, economy, employment, business, deshaunta bullock
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