By | Onaja Waki
You just moved to Arcata, from some big city like San Francisco, or Los Angeles. New to town you start to acquaint yourself with local residents and stores. However, you begin to notice how places like Jamba Juice, In-N-Out, Gap, or Home Depot are non-existent. The only stores you find familiar may be the Safeway at the UnionTown Shopping Center, the Subway on G Street, or even the McDonalds on Giuntoli Lane. Why is this the case?
Arcata is a small town filled with a bunch of local businesses with the exception of only a few big corporate business throughout the town. According to Arcata City Councilmen Paul Pitino, in order to keep all of Arcata’s local businesses in business there can’t be an influx of corporations. “It’s a way of keeping control of the city and not exporting profit to corporations,” said Pitino.
It’s not impossible to have more corporate businesses in town but it takes an effort from either the local residents or the Arcata Economic Development Committee.
“It all depends on the aggressiveness [lobbying] of the committees who then advise City Council,” said Pitino.
It takes a process in order for new businesses to be put in town. According to Pitino, it takes three out of the five council members to vote on it. However, it is ultimately up to the city manager and mayor to set the agenda of the development.
A city ordinance passed in 2002 might also make the task of getting a Chipotle or Wingstop put in town more difficult.
“The ordinance limited the number of formula restaurants in our commercial and industrial zone districts to only nine,” said Pitino.
Ariana Cash, a 22-year-old business major at HSU, thinks having an In-N-Out Out in town would be a good idea but thinks Arcata Pizza Deli’s Out N’ About Burgers has more quality. “In-N-Out probably would give APD some competition because so many students would go there, but I don’t think it would put them out of business or anything,” said Cash. “APD is legendary here.”
Arcata isn’t anti-corporation. Rather it’s a town looking to keep the local stores flourishing and the town’s authenticity alive.