Roan Mountain Dollar Tree/Family Dollar store to open Thursday

Published 4:54 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler

Star Correspondent

Some passers-by traveling on U.S. 19E mistakenly believed the Dollar Tree/Family Dollar store that has been under construction for months was finally open on Tuesday and pulled into the parking lot.

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There were plenty of vehicles in the newly stripped parking lot to indicate that was the case, but none were shoppers. It was all in preparation for what an employee of the chain said would be a “soft opening” planned for Thursday, June 6, with a more public opening scheduled for July Fourth weekend.

“We’re excited to be in Roan Mountain,” District Manager Norma Booker said. The district manager also said there will be a grand opening from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, with food, a disc jockey, and face painting.

The Carter County Beer Board will hold a public hearing to consider an off-premises beer permit for the store at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at the Carter County Courthouse, 801 E. Elk Ave.

The store, located at 8171 U.S. 19E, is built on the lot where Roan Mountain Motel once stood. The motel closed in the early 1990s and the lot was most recently the location of The Snack Wagon, now found a little further east on U.S. 19E. 

Dollar Tree Inc. – a Chesapeake, Va., company that operates discount variety stores – acquired Family Dollar Stores Inc. in 2015. It is currently No. 144 on the Fortune 500 list and its first-quarter report released Monday shows the company had opened 116 new Dollar Tree and 41 new Family Dollar stores. The latest report estimates $32 billion in sales in fiscal year 2024. 

Near the end of 2023, the company said it planned to close about 600 Family Dollar stores in the first half of fiscal 2024. Additionally, about 370 Family Dollar and 30 Dollar Tree stores would be closed over the next several years at the end of each store’s current lease term. By the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2024, the company had closed about 550 stores and expects to close an additional 150 stores by the end of fiscal 2024.

According to a commercial real estate website, the 10,500-square-foot building and property are valued at $1.755 million, and there is a 10-year lease with four, five-year options to extend.

On April 28, a tornado destroyed the company’s distribution center in Marietta, Okla., with an estimated loss of $117.0 million as of May 4, consisting of $70.0 million related to damaged inventory and $47.0 million related to property and equipment. The company said the loss is expected to be fully covered by insurance.

A Brief Dollar Tree/Family Dollar History

According to the company website, K.R. Perry opened a Ben Franklin variety store in 1953 in downtown Norfolk, Va., and later renamed it K&K 5&10. In 1970, Perry, Macon Brock, and Doug Perry started K&K Toys in Norfolk, which grew to more than 130 stores on the East Coast. The K&K 5&10 store continued to exist and served as the foundation for what would become Dollar Tree. In the early 1990s, K&K Toys was sold to KB Toys, a Melville Corp., and all assets were used to expand Dollar Stores. The company underwent a name change to Dollar Tree Stores in 1994.

In 1959, 21-year-old entrepreneur Leon Levine opened the first Family Dollar store in Charlotte, N.C. By the end of the 1960s, Family Dollar operated 27 stores in four states, with annual sales of more than $5 million. The 500th Family Dollar store was opened in 1982 and by 1989 there were more than 1,500 Family Dollar stores. By the time it was acquired by Dollar Tree in 2015, Family Dollar operated more than 8,000 stores and had 10 distribution centers.

The combo store format was created in 2021 to bring the combination of Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores to rural communities such as Roan Mountain.

As of May 4, Dollar Tree operated 16,397 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces.