The announcement Friday that Family Dollar will build its next store in Marion is welcome news. Since the Duckwall stores closed more than a year ago, Marion has been missing that retail niche.
Thanks and congratulations are in order for all of the people who worked behind the scenes to make this happen. Without proactive people like Greg Carlson specifically lobbying to bring a store to town, such a plan couldn’t have gotten off the ground.
But getting a commitment for a new store is just one step to making the plan a success. Even after the store is completed and open, whether it is a success will be an ongoing question. Is Family Dollar meeting the needs of its customers? Is it profitable enough that it will be able to continue serving the community?
The answers to those questions will depend a lot on the company, the store’s local management, and the community. Family Dollar would be well advised to focus on stocking goods that people in Marion and the surrounding area need, but have to go elsewhere to find, rather than trying to cannibalize local businesses. On the local management front, keeping the store clean and welcoming with friendly employees could go a long way to keeping customers coming through the doors.
Finally, if the store provides a service that people genuinely want to keep in town, then they need to support it. I’m not suggesting paying double the price you could find out of town, but if you need a widget that costs five cents less at the big box store, seriously think about buying locally instead of waiting for your next trip out of town.
A new store in town isn’t a solution — it is an opportunity. The community can either make the most of that opportunity, or it can squander the chance.
— Adam Stewart