There's little doubt Carson Valley retailers will find themselves in a more competitive market this holiday season, when a Walmart Superstore is expected to open in south Gardnerville.
But the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, Douglas County Economic Vitality program and City National Bank are trying to convert any potential apprehension into a competitive edge.
The chamber, with the aforementioned sponsors, is hosting author and small business expert Barbara Wold for two sessions, "How to profit from Walmart's arrival," on Sept. 13 at Carson Valley Inn in Minden.
"Since the announcement the store was going to be built, there has been a lot of discussion and a lot of reaction among the community at large, among our members and small retailers," Bill Chernock, chamber executive director, said Thursday. "It's a pretty dramatic change to the south end of Gardnerville, and we wanted to give our members and small retailers, because the event is for everyone, some reminders and tools that can assist them in that transition from no Walmart down there to a super Walmart. We timed it specifically to have those tactics and tools be fresh for the retailers going into the holiday buying season."
The morning session starts at 9 a.m., and the afternoon session at 1 p.m. Each 2.5-hour session will focus on how small businesses can contend with the largest retailer in the world.
"By providing an exceptional experience and products that will bring in new customers," Chernock said, "keep them coming back and encourage them to become goodwill ambassadors for your business."
He described Wold as a street-smart, down-to-earth business speaker, presenting topics from sales and marketing to customer service and tourism.
"She is an international speaker who has wowed over 850,000 people from all 50 of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates," the chamber stated in a press release. "She has brought her message to small retailers through her work with Main Street organizations all over the United States and gotten rave reviews."
Chernock hopes attendees will walk away from the session reinvigorated. He wants them to leave with a clear set of steps they can take to not just weather Walmart, but to capture a percentage of the new consumers that the store's opening will generate.
"One thing we know is that when Walmart opens a location, they expect to reach a large number of new customers," Chernock said. "While the information will help small retailers grow from their current customer base, this program is also about the kind of actions small businesses need to take to get - and keep - the new customers."
Cost to attend the event is $15 per person for chamber members, and $20 for nonmembers. Attendance is limited. Reservations can be made online at www.carsonvalleynv.org or by calling the chamber at 782-8144.