Walmart tried for seven years to expand their over-shopped store in Clovis, CA. They wanted to build another store in Clovis to help meet the needs of the community. The existing location was shopped 400% beyond the capacity it was intended for; it was very hard to keep items stocked and shopping carts available. It was also frustrating for their customers who had to navigate the extremely busy store. Despite the need for growth, Walmart spent seven years hitting a brick wall with the local city council and planning commission. Due to well-organized opposition, the expansion was viewed in a negative light.
Walmart needed a new approach. They needed a public affairs strategist who represented and commanded the will of the community. Walmart shoppers wanted to see a Walmart expansion happen; furthermore, they wanted more locations with ease of access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Through grassroots movements, lobbying, and consensus building, Walmart received the written support of over 10,000 local constituents. The community was educated about the positive impacts awaiting them once the approval was gained for Walmart to expand its presence in Clovis. Walmart’s growth would create over 1,000 critically needed new jobs and an immediate boost of $750,000 in annual sales tax revenue during a time when the economy was significantly recessed. This boom would help support critical services like police and fire for the City. Within 9 months of bringing Holly Carter as the lead for the Walmart expansion, the City Council Voted “Yes” to allow for Walmart’s growth. What had been a seven year battle leading to a series of failures was turned around in a single year under the direction of Carter and her strategic communications expertise.