Local businesses, shoppers ready for new department store

McCaulou’s could be opening in mid-summer, president says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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With an opening possible some time this summer, the local area is buzzing about McCaulou’s. The Bay Area-based department store chain is scheduled to open its doors in the old Gottschalks location in the Auburn Town Center on Elm Avenue. David McCaulou, president of McCaulou’s Inc., was visiting the store Monday, and said the company doesn’t have an exact opening date yet. “We don’t know the answers,” McCaulou said. “It could be mid- to late summer.” McCaulou said the company has been receiving about 50 calls a day from people inquiring about the Auburn store. McCaulou said a lot of people are asking about jobs. Staff is giving application instructions to callers. “That is about all we want to talk about now,” McCaulou said. “Our main focus is concentrating on getting it done.” Will Wong, director of Auburn’s Community Development Department, said the city has been told the store will open in July. Wong said the building’s landlord has been working on replacing the roof and the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. Wong said once that is finished it should be fairly straight forward for the store to move in. “We’re looking forward to it, too,” he said. “I have been working with the landlord on this ever since prior to the close of Gottschalks.” Andy Heath, director of Auburn’s Administrative Services Department, said the city is expecting $60,000 to $80,000 per year in sales tax revenue from the store. Owners and employees in the Elm Avenue shopping center said they are looking forward to having a new retail neighbor. Jennifer Roberts, a Flour Garden Bakery employee, said she is looking forward to the new store. “We are really hopeful it will bring more people to the shopping center,” Roberts said. “We stay busy, so it’s not like we are floundering, but we are just hoping it will bring more people around.” Sandie Neel, Country Naturals owner, said she is looking forward to the store on a personal and business level. “I think that it’s fantastic,” Neel said. “I had hoped it would be before now, but I’m glad it’s here. It will bring back our foot traffic that we need so badly.” Neel said business in the center was affected negatively when Gottschalks closed. “Absolutely,” she said. “It closed four or five of the other stores in this strip. When Gottschalks went it was like a chain reaction for the other stores in this center.” Neel said she has already heard positive things about McCaulou’s. “My brother and sister-in-law shop at McCaulou’s down in the Bay Area, and they have said it’s just a great store. It’s one of their favorite clothing stores. My customers are also anxious to see them come in. Who wouldn’t be in this shopping center? It’s our anchor store.” Mary Paolini, who works at Mountain Mama Clothing in the center, said the store is a positive addition for many reasons. “I think it will give us a lot more foot traffic and it will certainly bring new energy back to this plaza, because it’s been very depressing … since (Gottschalks) closed,” Paolini, who worked at Gottschalks before it closed, said. “This community needs this store. I think Auburnites want to shop local and I think they will do well if they treat their customers the way Gottschalks did.” Paolini said she talked to customers who live in Lincoln, but retired from the Bay Area, who said they would come to Auburn to shop in McCaulou’s. The store could also provide a bigger selection for those looking for men’s wear, Paolini said. Paolini said the jobs would also be a boost for the local economy. Sacramento resident Ann Becker, who was shopping in the center Tuesday, said she is looking forward to the new store. “I think it’s exciting to have one that is this close so that we don’t have to go to the Bay Area,” Becker said. “I will definitely visit it.” Wendy Metrogen, who works at Cut 4 U in the center, said the new store could keep local residents from having to make trips to Roseville. Auburn residents Linda and Mike Papera said they were both looking forward to the opening, and Linda Papera said she might consider applying to work at the store. “With so many empty stores and storefront windows, it’s nice to see something moving in,” Mike Papera said. Linda Papera said she agreed. “I think this area needs a department store, and I’m glad they are putting something in that building,” she said. Reach Bridget Jones at ----------------------------------------------------- Want to work at McCaulou’s? E-mail your resume to or fax your resume to (925) 283-5780.