Family Dollar celebrates relocation
When Family Dollar opened its first store in Forest City in 1960, it was a historic day for the downtown area.
It was only the third store to be located in the country.
Family Dollar opened its first store in November 1959 by Leon Levine of Charlotte. The rest is history.
Today there are over 8,000 stores in the Family Dollar chain located from Maine to California.
On Saturday when Family Dollar celebrates its relocation grand opening on West Main Street in Forest City, the store will maintain its status as being the third store built in the Family Dollar chain.
Grand opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. and the first 50 shoppers will receive a $5 gift card. Free gifts will be given out during the day.
Among the most familiar faces at the new location is Sam Dale, who has been with the Forest City downtown store for the past 37 years.
"He started as a stock-boy," said Martha Roach, a former director of the Forest City Chamber of Commerce.
Today he is the manager.
Roach also said when Family Dollar opened the people in Forest City were waiting in anticipation. The town's other discount variety store had closed.
When Dale left the Family Dollar store in downtown on Nov. 2 for the new store location, he was the last customer to make a purchase at the store. He bought cookies.
On Sunday, Nov. 3, Family Dollar was closed in preparation for the opening day on Monday, Nov. 4 at the West Main Street location.
When Dale went into the store on Nov. 4, he was the first customer to make a purchase.
"It was a Mt. Dew," Dale said, who said leaving the store was difficult.
"Our walking customers got a little upset," said Dale, "but some of them are walking here."
Family Dollar decided to relocate the downtown Forest City store in order to offer more items to its customers and have more space.
"We couldn't carry as many items at the other store because it was small," Dale said.
Ron McQueen, a Family Dollar District Manager from Charlotte said the downtown store that opened in 1965 had about 3,800 square feet. The new store has approximately 8,000 to 9,000 square feet.
Dale said when the customers walk into the new store their first impressions are "Wow. I can see now why you left."
The aisles are wider and "more than one person can pass at one time," said Dale.
"I'm a little sad about leaving the old store, but I'm okay and actually excited."
About Family Dollar: In November 1959, Leon Levine opened the first Family Dollar store in Charlotte and was on his way to becoming a retailing legend. Right from the start, he had a well-developed philosophy of what Family Dollar would be and how it would operate, a philosophy from which he and his management team have never strayed. The concept is a simple one,“the customers are the boss, and you need to keep them happy.”