Opinion: Loss of Throwback Discount Store Spurs Mixed Feelings in Small Texas Town as New Store Opens


Columnist wonders if saying goodbye to an old-fashioned discount store transitioning to a busier store is progress - or not.

Store Changing from Family Dollar to Dollar Tree in Wake Village, Texas Causes Conflicted Feelings From Customer Who Already Misses It More Than He Expected

Many people around the Ark-La-Tex have noticed 'store closing' signs in front of some Family Dollar stores. One such store is located in Wake Village, Texas  (pop. 5488) near the Texarkana, Texas city limits.

Texarkana, Wake Village, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Discount stores
And this change stems from one of the hardest fought retail acquisitions in American history which pitted two discount retailers, Dollar Tree and Dollar General, against each other with a $9 billion business deal and the title of top North American discount retailer on the line.

Dollar Tree ended up winning the battle following the completion of the hard fought acquisition of Family Dollar Stores over rival Dollar General in July 2015, and the Federal Trade Commission only required Dollar Tree to sell 330 stores to clear regulatory hurdles. But after that, the company still has 13,000 stores in the USA and Canada with $18 billion in sales - making it larger today than Dollar General.

Soon after local Wake Village residents noticed the 'store closing' sign in front of the Family Dollar location, changes came quickly. Just a few days after that sighting, the store had been emptied and original fixtures were removed. At the same time, it appeared different fixtures were being moved in, and changes were being made to the front of the building.

Now that the finishing touches have been applied to the interior of the space, new employees were trained to transform the former Family Dollar into a new Dollar Tree location, which is scheduled to open today, Friday, November 6, 2015.

Because of the contentious Dollar Tree business acquisition deal, only some Family Dollar stores in the Ark-La-Tex are becoming Dollar Tree locations, but the little store in Wake Village at 4710 W 7th St is an especially interesting case study.

You see, the Famly Dollar in Wake Village had always been unique in the Four States Area because it was located in a difficult location with several dollar stores surrounding it. And, by the way, getting in and out of the parking lot was never easy. Nevertheless, the location was always one of the neatest and tidiest in the area. Apparently, it was a pretty good place to work as well. Former employees at the location had good things to say about the little Family Dollar store when they reported information to a national job hunting website.

Even though the store seemed to have few customers, this neat and tidy former Family Dollar location was built relatively recently. However, the staff was consistently warm and friendly - even while constantly struggling for foot traffic.

The acquisition by Dollar Tree and a newly built Wal Mart Neighborhood Market located directly behind it probably sealed the fate of the undershopped Family Dollar store. But local residents in the small city of Wake Village will always remember the location fondly. Thankfully for Wake Village, Redwater, Liberty-Eylau and other west Texarkana residents, this transition to Dollar Tree will mean that the W 7th St. location remains occupied. This is good for value conscious residents as well as the city, which depends on sales tax dollars. But the loss of this uncluttered, fun and quietly friendly Family Dollar store will be felt in a real way. One friend told me - in all seriousness - that he will 'always remember' the store. That is a high compliment indeed, since these type of stores permeate the community on virtually every well-trafficked road.

Even though my friend is upset about it, change is happening. The updated storefront now features a vivid green horizontal stripe with a matching green awning that shields the front store window and entrance configuration. Signage in the windows show the Dollar Tree designs and the store, which opens today, will soon be bustling with cheerful activity. A new interior layout - complete with horizontal upper striping in the signature green color - updates and brightens the space.

The little Family Dollar you could walk in and walk out of in two minutes will probably now take 9 or 10 minutes if lines in other Dollar Tree locations are anything to go by. And the clerks who knew the names of customers, constantly cleaned and dusted and asked if I forgot to buy my Diet Coke today will probably never be able to have that level of personal contact with customers again. Since the Dollar Tree store hired new staff, they may not even work there anymore.

But is it progress? I'm not sure. Many people will look back at the Family Dollar in Wake Village as the little caterpillar that turned into the butterfly that is Dollar Tree. But I think my friend was right: I will always see the Family Dollar with the clean shelves and friendly staff as the beautiful butterfly and the new store as the tree with a hidden branch holding my memories of an almost old-fashioned, throwback, general store that will be deeply missed in the community. Ark-La-Tex.com


http://www.ark-la-tex.comAbout us: Ark-La-Tex.com started in 1991 as an internet bulletin board and soon became one of the area's first internet service providers. It was relaunched in 2015 with a new staff and a goal of offering local news on industry, events and people. Contact us

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Ark-La-Tex.com News: Opinion: Loss of Throwback Discount Store Spurs Mixed Feelings in Small Texas Town as New Store Opens
Opinion: Loss of Throwback Discount Store Spurs Mixed Feelings in Small Texas Town as New Store Opens
Columnist wonders if saying goodbye to an old-fashioned discount store transitioning to a busier store is progress - or not.
Ark-La-Tex.com News
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