The buck store stops in Craig

Family Dollar plans late-summer opening

Family Dollar a discount chain retail store, with an aggressive history of opening new stores around the country, will soon open in Craig.

The 8,000-square-foot store, approved by Craig's Planning and Zoning Commission in early May, already is under construction. The new building, south of Burger King, is slated for completion by mid- to late-August, said project manager Larry Wallace.

Family Dollar has added 1,600 stores to its base in the last five years by selling most goods under $10. Merchandise includes a range of food items to small consumer goods.

Any business that comes into town brings more people and revenue into town, said Scott Cook, a board member of the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership. With the next closest Family Dollar almost 200 miles away in Leadville, Cook said he hopes the new store would attract shoppers from other towns, including Meeker and Steamboat Springs.

On the downside, he questioned whether a second dollar store, which would be competing with a similar store in town, was "cutting the pie up too much."

"Ideally we want to bring in businesses that won't compete with each other," he said. "Anytime a new business comes in it's good for everybody except the direct competition."

The EDP doesn't make decisions about which businesses may locate in town, Cook said.

Prospective businesses must only adhere to city requirements, such as zoning, landscaping and building codes before coming in.

Specifics about how many employees will be needed to staff the new store and what wages employees can expect were unavailable from corporate Family

Dollar representatives.

Salaries for store-based employees at Leadville's Family Dollar start at about $6 per hour, said store manager Melanie Johnson.

Some benefits and stock options for full-time employees are offered after working for a few months.

Generally, the chain hires about five employees from the local community to man the average-sized stores, which includes an assistant manager and a manager, she said.

High-traffic stores require more workers, said a representative from the company's public relations department.

Temporary employees who are available for roughly two consecutive weeks are hired to ready the store and an interview process, which will be advertised, is set up on-site, Johnson added.

The design of Craig's new Family Dollar, at less than 10,000 square feet, is rated one of the chain's "typical" stores.

"The relatively small store permits us to open new stores in rural areas and small towns," according to the company's Web site. "Within these markets, our stores are located in shopping centers or as free-standing buildings or in urban storefronts convenient to our customers."

Family Dollar operates more than 4,800 stores in 43 states. In 2002, Family Dollar opened 525 stores, its largest amount of openings in the company's history. The company forecasts opening 475 to 500 new stores before the end of August. In the last year, the company will have closed approximately 60 stores.

Family Dollar has headquarters in Matthews, N.C. It sports six distribution centers and recently advertised a new distribution center in Odessa, Texas. Family Dollar went public in 1970 and its Common Stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FDO.

For more information regarding Family Dollar, call (704) 847-6961.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.