RC Willey Auto Mall Advertising, Elk Grove Retail Leakage, and a Humiliating Kick in The Crotch -Video

March 3, 2018 |

Although this was probably not the intention, an electronic billboard advertisement at the Elk Grove Auto Mall was a humiliating kick in the crotch for Elk Grove's economic development department, and its director, Darrel Doan.

The advertisement in question was from Salt Lake City Utah-based RC Willey, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway. The ad placed on the giant electronic billboard along Highway 99 at the Elk Grove Auto Mall advertising their grand opening at Sacramento's Delta Shores shopping center.

Doan and his staff at the city's economic development department have recently dropped their emphasis over the last decade or so on bringing in new employers with high paying jobs to the recruitment of high-end retailers. Obviously, Elk Grove's long-stalled Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, which has sat unfinished for almost ten years has been a drag on the city's reputation with those type of retailers, precisely like RC Willey, Doan now covets. 

Additionally, Delta Shores is now exasperating Elk Grove's retail leakage that Doan is supposedly trying to plug. That shopping center will likely accelerate Doan's leakage problem and make Elk Grove an even more difficult place to sell.

In a recent interview, a general manager of one of those retailers at Delta Shores who asked that their store not to be identified other than to say they also have an Elk Grove location, said sales are almost double of corporate projections. Further, the general manager said about 35-percent of their sales are coming from two Elk Grove zip codes.

So as Doan, his staff, and Elk Grove City Manager Laura Gill contemplate renewing the consulting contract with Birmingham, Alabama-based Retail Strategies, there is something they should include in the agreement. Maybe Retail Strategies can finally get the 99 Cent Store that was approved three years ago this month on Elk Grove-Florin Road constructed and opened for business. 

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

To add further insult, if my memory serves me correct, the city helped pay for that sign too, or indirectly contributing to the Auto Center advertising budget.

I recall not too long ago our Mayor Emeritus proclaiming like a parrot that Elk Grove was "open for business". No, I prefer to say we are living in a virtual auction, "sold to the highest bidder!"

Josie said...

A kick in the crotch for sure. Maybe Elk Groves Mr. Doan & his ALA. sidekick should have been working a little harder for our local 5-6 retailers that left us recently.

Something else that could be considered is having our Economic Director, Mr. Doan use a local cell phone number for business with our city instead of a Baltimore, MD number 443 310-3662. Lets get with the program EG. We've got some major LEAKAGE!

Eye on Elk Grove said...

Here’s a bit of history on the Elk Grove Auto Mall electronic signs. The sign in the video is their second one, much larger and taller, of course, because the first one was too small.

Sarah Johnson, God rest her soul, spearheaded the opposition of the initial sign. This was back in 2006. At that particular council meeting, the Elk Grove Auto Mall electronic sign agenda item was right after the community grant funding agenda item for Elk Grove nonprofits whereby the council would divide up taxpayer money.

Well during community grant agenda item, up comes then-candidate Gary Davis asking for funding for Playground Partners. Davis wanted $50K. That is quite a big ask for any nonprofit.

Coincidentally, a representative of the Elk Grove Auto Mall spoke during a very lengthy public comment promising if the Elk Grove City Council approved their electronic sign they would donate $50K to the community grants that year and every year thereafter. The rationale being that people would see the sign, immediately turn around, buy cars at the auto mall causing sales to soar and the $50K would not be a big deal to donate every year to benefit the community.

Well lo and behold, led by then Council member Michael Leary, the Elk Grove City Council accepted the $50K and allocated that exact amount to. . . you guessed it . . .to Gary Davis and Playground Partners (this was their first community grant application). Many know that there are numerous nonprofits that have put in the applications year and year and are consistently turned away without a dime.

And of course, the Elk Grove Auto Mall electronic sign was approved. No quid pro quo here, right?

As a note since 2006, it is not known if the Elk Grove Auto Mall followed through on their promised condition of approval and donated any additional cash money to the city of Elk Grove’s community grants. If they have, it has not been mentioned or noted in any staff reports that could be located.

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