Family Dollar planning to shutter about 1,000 stores

TULSA, Okla. — Family Dollar, one of two major dollar-store chains in the U.S., is planning to shutter around 1,000 stores across the country. The move will almost certainly effect some Tulsa neighbors, who balance the want for a traditional store, and the need for groceries, in places where they may be lacking.

Dollar stores often carry frozen items, but fresh fruits, veggies and meats are generally lacking.

Up on Pine, between Peoria and MLK is one of more than a dozen dollar stores in north Tulsa. For some who live nearby, it may be their only feasible option for groceries.

“I’m blessed to have an automobile. I can shop anywhere I desire. A lot of people can’t,” Rhonda Rhine said.

Rhine has lived in the area for the better part of 60 years. She remembers the times when it was not considered a food desert. Dollar stores are thought by some to attract crime, and lower property values. The solution in her mind, making the effort to go to the traditional store.

“I want it to flourish. I want this community to understand that we have something besides a candy shop,” Rhines said.

2 News also spoke with city councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper on the issue.

“You know, the news that Family Dollar was going be closing some stores … for me, was good news,” Hall-Harper said.

Hall-Harper represents Tulsa’s first district. It is under the guise of Tulsa’s healthy neighborhoods overlay, which puts some regulations on dollar stores opening. On the flip side, it cuts some red tape for traditional stores, like lowering the bar for parking.”

Some Tulsans rely on these stores for food, others for an income. The councilor is not so worried about that.

“So if they close and we’re able to open up grocery stores then they can work at these grocery stores for better pay,” Harper-Hall said.

Rhine understands the need for some store. A local grocer would be preferable she says, but a national chain like Walmart would work too.

“We need to support what’s in our community and not be treated as “well, we’ll just give them a crumb. And they’ll be happy.”

There are about 40,000 dollar stores across the United States. Nearly double all the McDonald’s and Subway restaurants combined. So far, the chain has not disclosed which stores are closing, but 2 News will keep an eye on the Tulsa locations.

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