With businesses like Fleet Feet moving into bigger digs downtown and Bibiane Bakery doing so well that it outgrew its old space on Main Street, the local economy is changing for the better, city officials say.
In fact, this is the first time since the recession began two years ago that all the retail spots in downtown Pleasanton are either taken or spoken for, said Pamela Ott, the city's economic development director.
That includes a new restaurant space inside the new Fleet Feet building, which opened Friday at 234 A Main Street.
Business throughout the rest of the city is good as well, she said.
"We've felt the effects of the recession; I don't want to suggest we haven't," she said. "But we have a really diverse business community in Pleasanton, which means that we're not too heavily concentrated in one sector. We can weather the changes a little more steadily, which is a good thing. It also means our business environment is good for new companies looking to come in."
Though Pleasanton saw a dearth of new construction over the past couple of years, as did many cities, things are becoming active again. An example is the under-construction retail center, a 58,000-square-foot "Lifestyle" complex at Bernal and Valley avenues, next to the northbound I-680 Bernal Avenue off-ramp. Safeway will anchor that center.
Another example is The Clorox Company bringing 700 of its Oakland-based employees into a (taking the place of the old five-building Washington Mutual campus at Johnson and Franklin drives.)
What's more, city data shows there were 52,401 jobs in Pleasanton in 2010-2011, compared to 51,374 jobs in 2009-2010 — that's an increase of 1,027 jobs.
In 2007-2008, there were 53,873 jobs — about 5 percent more than in 2009-2010. But jobs are increasing and are expected to keep doing so, Ott said.
In 2011-2012, Ott said the number should be at 52,925 — 524 more jobs than exist now and only 948 away from 2007 levels.
Ott said her office works to keep jobs in Pleasanton by helping businesses with permitting issues and relationship building. She said there's also a financing program for restaurants that need help with their sewer connection fees, which can be pricey.
"We have the makings in Pleasanton of a really solid economy," Ott said. "I don't want to imply that we haven't felt the impacts of the recession; we have certainly had some businesses that have downsized and we know residents have been impacted.
"But in terms of the long-term perspective, we have a diverse business community that has been able to by and large weather the storm. We were dipping, but we're heading back up."