Monday, April 22

Okeechobee mayor, residents wondering if their dollar stores will remain open

The parent company that owns both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar said today it will close nearly 1,000 stores nationwide, the majority of them under the Family Dollar label.

Where those stores will be closed is still a mystery, but in Okeechobee, city leaders and residents are hoping their stores stay open so they continue to have more affordable places to shop.

Pam Holland was at a Dollar Tree on Wednesday doing some midweek shopping.

Cleaning supplies and some snacks. I have a container garden, so I got stuff for my garden, she said.

Holland enjoys shopping where she feels the prices are lower.

Inexpensive, just a little something I need around the house, she added.

The announcement Wednesday that hundreds of Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores would be closing nationwide gave Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford pause.

Some people dont like those types of stores. They think we need a little higher class store, Watford said. But they do provide a service to the community, especially with the demographic that we have here.

There are nine dollar stores just in the immediate Okeechobee area– six under the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar banner.

Theyre in walking distance,” Watford said. “Transportation is always a problem here, so theyre usually within walking distance to neighborhoods that can use that type of store.

While no store closings have been announced yet, geography could work against Watfords city as the Family Dollar and Dollar Tree stores are within a block from one another in two different locations within the city.

Irene Garay, a visitor from Tennessee, said at this stage of her life with the kids out of the house, she and her husband like the dollar stores as opposed to the big box stores.

“You know when youre on a fixed income, it really helps you,” Garay said. “Even though you dont think so, yes sometimes yes.

The mayor is hoping all of the stores in his city stay fixed for the foreseeable future.

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