A Family Dollar Store will be built in Marion, Greg Carlson announced at Marion Chamber of Commerce meeting Friday.
Family Dollar has purchased the property at 1201 E. Main Street, currently Aunt Bee’s Floral Garden Gifts owned by Wendy Youk. Youk will move to the Main Street location of Gary Carlson’s television and radio service. Gary Carlson will move his business back to his home where he operated the television sales and repair business for almost 50 years.
“My parents were kind of influential in this deal,” Greg Carlson said. “They were willing to move back home.”
Family Dollar representatives have already presented a preliminary building plan to Marion City Administrator Doug Kjellin. Aunt Bees will stay open at the current location into June, although an exact date has yet to be set, Youk said. Family Dollar will look to begin demolition once Youk has moved.
The new building would include over 8,000 square feet of space. Parking for Family Dollar would face north toward Main Street. Lot access is planned for Main and Coble streets.
Chamber of Commerce secretary Margo Yates and Kjellin said they have been searching for a new retail business to replace Duckwall’s since Duckwall’s closed in January 2011.
Talks with other low-cost retailers, especially Dollar General, floundered until Greg Carlson became involved this past fall. Carlson originally began talking with Dollar General but then refocused on Family Dollar, calling the corporate office of the company in North Carolina.
He was then setup with a regional company representative in Colorado and a real estate agent from Wichita.
“What sold them was it was Greg and he saw the need,” Yates said. “In small towns, they’re looked on as a small Walmart. Hats off to Greg on that one.”
Family Dollar will be competition for Carlson’s business, Carlsons’ Grocery Store. Of Family Dollar’s revenue stream from 2011, 66.6 percent came from consumable products — food, health and beauty aids, pet food and supplies, household chemicals, and paper products. With two consecutive record-breaking quarters in 2012 in the books, Family Dollar is looking to expand their reach into the grocery arena. Stores are adding more coolers. Family Dollar has also introduced a generic line of products.
Carlson said a store like Family Dollar was necessary to provide Marion customers with items they would have to go out of town to purchase. He said the absence of Duckwall’s has driven customers visiting Marion County Lake to buy in Hillsboro.
“We need these people to stay here,” Carlson said.
Kjellin and Carlson both concluded that Family Dollar is looking to build a mutually beneficial relationship with Carlsons.’ When Kjellin, Yates, and Carlson drove a real estate agent around shopping for locations for the store, 1201 E. Main St. was the only spot that was acceptable because of the proximity to Carlsons.’ A location beside U.S. 56 was suggested and the agent decided to not even look at it.
“We were thinking outside of the box as much as possible,” Yates said. “They knew what they thought worked best.”
Family Dollar does not have franchises in its business plan and will hold ownership of the store.
“We had to do this,” Greg Carlson said.
“Hopefully it’s the first of many dominoes in this town,” Yates said.
The former Duckwall’s location is still unoccupied. Yates said she had talked to interested parties this week about moving into the storefront.