With shoppers hunting for bargains in a struggling economy, Family Dollar is expanding its discount store presence in Pasco County.
A Hudson-area store at 12021 S.R. 52, at Shadow Ridge Boulevard west of Moon Lake Road, opened this week, according to Josh Braverman, communication director for the Family Dollar chain, based in a suburb of Charlotte, N.C. The grand opening started Thursday.
A second Hudson location is under construction on Little Road a bit north of S.R. 52, on a parcel just north of the Publix-anchored Tower Oaks Terrace shopping center. That store is scheduled to open by early March, Braverman confirmed.
Contractors also said new stores are in the works for the Holiday area and in Zephyrhills.
Family Dollar already has three locations in West Pasco in strip centers, unlike the new, freestanding stores.
Michael Martin, head estimator for K.E. Martin Development of Pasco, said the firm has landed a site work contract for locations at Alt. 19 and Holiday Lake Drive, as well as bidding on a Zephyrhills site at S.R. 54 and Cobb Road. The construction company, based in Spring Hill, has been involved in the Little Road site, too.
"Pretty much all of these jobs are turnkey in four months or less," Martin said. Typically, the stores enclose about 8,000 square feet of space. Some prefabrication materials make quick assembly possible.
"There's quite a few," Martin commented about the burst in expansion at Family Dollar.
About 18 months ago, Dollar General was keeping Silverking Contracting Inc. busy building new stores, project manager Charles Aldrich recalled.
These days, Clearwater-based Silverking is handling many Family Dollar construction projects, Aldrich said. Silverking is building the new Little Road location for Family Dollar.
"It's kind of like Walgreens versus CVS," Aldrich said, referring to the expansion boom of the competing drugstore chains in recent years.
Founded in 1959, the Family Dollar chain has about 6,900 stores in 44 states, employing 45,000 "team members," according to the company's website.
The recession seems to have driven more value-minded customers to Family Dollar stores, judging by fast growth in sales and earnings.
The firm considers its core customer to be a female head of household in her mid 40s making less than $40,000 per year.
Customers drove third-quarter sales and earnings to records, according to a company news release. Net sales went up 7.8 percent to $2.153 billion in the quarter that ended May 28. Net income for the quarter increased 6.5 percent to $111.1 million. Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, was 36.2 percent.
Comparable store sales increased 4.7 percent in the quarter. Sales during the quarter were strongest in the consumables and home products categories.
By the end of the third quarter, the chain had opened 206 stores, closed 48 and ended with 6,943 locations.