HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Local residents may soon have their choice of two new discount retailers spaced little more than a half-mile apart. While representing new development, the projects’ local economic impact may be blunted by competition between the stores and low wages for new hires.
Simultaneously moving forward through the local planning process in Hoosick are proposed new Family Dollar and Dollar General stores. Both corporations operate low-overhead retail stores catering in discount merchandise, with approximately 7,200 and 10,000 stores nationwide, respectively -- making them the top two chains in the burgeoning "small box" discount retail industry.
Nearby Dollar General stores include locations in Cambridge and Pownal, Vt., while the nearest Family Dollar is in Bennington, Vt.
More stores; more business
"Two stores bring in more business than one," said Hoosick town planning board Chairman Jim Dunigan, reflecting the attitude he’s received from developers. With both proposed locations zoned light industrial/commercial, Dunigan said his board’s role was to ensure the projects meet local site plan criteria.
"We’re there to make sure they do this and this and this. ... There’s a criteria they have to follow," regarding parking, screening, and setbacks, he said.
The planning board gave final approval last month for the Family Dollar, which will be located on a northern subparcel of the former Baker’s Nursery property on Route 22. Sale of the approximately 2.1-acre parcel was finalized Friday, July 20, for $120,000, with work drilling for a new well beginning that same day.
Ken Brownell, managing director of Vanguard-Fine LLC, the developer for the future Family Dollar, said Sunday that construction would start this week to allow the new 8,000-square-foot store to open by early to late November.
Contingent on its review by Rensselaer County, a Dollar General located at the current site of the ERC Community Warehouse, six-tenths of a mile north from the future Family Dollar, could receive local approval as early as next month.
Dunigan said developers told the planning board the Dollar General could be open 120 days after work begins. The new 9,100-square-foot building would replace the existing warehouse. The planning board waived public hearings for both proposals, as local law leaves site plan hearings up to the board’s discretion.
"We’re excited about the expansion of business," said town Supervisor Keith Cipperly on Sunday, ceding business acumen to the companies moving forward with both projects.
"These guys are professionals, if they think it can work. ... We’re going along with what studies they’ve done and how they feel," he said, adding the new buildings would add to town tax rolls.
In a previous interview, a spokesperson for Dollar General said the typical store employed 6 to 10 people, including one manager, an assistant manager, and full-time and part-time associates.
At Family Dollar, which employs a similar number of people at each store, the average customer is a "female head of household in her mid-40s, making less than $40,000" a year according to the company website. Founded in 1959, Family Dollar Stores Inc. is based in North Carolina and has posted 17 consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings growth after its latest report to shareholders last month.
Tennessee-based Dollar General Corporation reported similar record sales during its first quarter of 2012, which Rick Dreiling, chairman and chief executive officer, said "reinforc(es) Dollar General’s role as America’s general store."
Reflecting one ingredient to their success, both companies pay wages in line with the average shopper. On Glassdoor.com, a website for job seekers containing employee-posted salaries and company information, hourly salaries for cashiers/sales associates reportedly averaged about $7.50 at both retailers; just above New York’s minimum wage of $7.25.
In Hoosick, Cipperly pointed to other business developing in town, including a future Brown’s Brewing Co. brewery in North Hoosick and a scrap metal recycling proposal by Brownell’s Auto Wrecking Service, of Shaftsbury, Vt. The town supervisor said he had also asked for a review of the town’s comprehensive plan and land use law, to facilitate growth and ensure a clear delineation between residential and commercial districts.
That analysis comes on top of a regular review of land use law every five years, Cipperly said, to determine pertinent criteria "and make sure that it’s structured," he said.
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