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With Staples opening, Sonoma focuses on chain store rules

At Sonoma Valley Office Supply on Friday, Vicky Frank summed up her mood with a single word.

"Pressured."

Three blocks away from the 5th Street West store, final preparations were under way for today's grand opening of a Staples store.

For Frank, who has worked at or owned Sonoma Valley Office Supply since 1981, the new 14,336-square-foot retail giant represents a clear threat to her bottom line.

The store opening also is a touchstone moment in Sonoma's ongoing debate on whether to regulate formula or big-box stores, given that it was the Staples plans that sparked the discussion.

When the automatic doors on the West Napa Road store slide open at 9 a.m., many in this city of 10,000 will be anxious to see the affect it will have on local commerce and the city's collective view of itself as a unique place.

Frank's opposition to the new Staples is perhaps not surprising given that the store is a business competitor. But she insisted Friday that she would feel the same way were the store in question, say, a Wal-Mart or Target.

"It's not Sonoma," she said.

Others disagree, and welcome the opportunity to shop at Staples.

"I don't think it's a threat to anything. I'm just upset because they're not open," said Jan Valluzzo, a Washington state resident who stopped at the Staples on Friday only to find out the store had yet to open.


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