Family Dollar meets opposition in southwest Atlanta

(John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

(John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

Several hundred protesters (photos) turned out Friday to demand that Family Dollar abandon plans to build a store in the Cascade area of southwest Atlanta.

Protesters argue that the discount general merchandise chain already has several stores in the area and that it is targeting predominantly black communities for its locations. The new store is being built at Fairburn Road and Benjamin E. Mays Drive.

Protesters say the concentration of such stores lowers nearby residential property values and attracts crime. They also say the store will be near retirement complexes, a health care center, and nearby neighborhoods.

“We are not anti-business,” Audraine Jackson, an area resident and owner of Jackson Communication, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during the protest Friday near the construction site for the new store. “The issue here is the aggressive marketing tactics of Family Dollar that disproportionately targets the African-American community. For us to have four stores in this ZIP code alone is totally unacceptable.”

Family Dollar, however, defends opening the new location and vows to “work diligently” to make the store “a positive addition” to the community, spokesman Bryn Winburn said in a statement.

“Family Dollar is proud to be a neighborhood store and we continuously strive to be a positive part of the neighborhoods we serve. We look forward to working with this community to create a store we can all be proud of,” Byrn said. The spokesperson also noted that the chain, which plans to open up to 500 stores this fiscal year, donates thousands of dollars to nonprofits that seek to improve the quality of life of customers and employees.

Earlier this month, more than 200 residents attended an Aug. 14 community meeting at the Adamsville Recreation Center to oppose the new store.

“Somebody might argue and say, ‘Well, this is economic development,’ ” said Atlanta City Councilman Michael Bond. “This is not the type of economic development that we want.” Councilman C.T. Martin noted there were three Family Dollar stores on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

(Commenting closed)

(Staff photographer John Spink contributed to this blog)

133 comments Add your comment

Kalif

August 24th, 2012
2:02 pm

There are Family Dollar stores in much more upscale areas than Cascade. I could understand pushback against a check cashing store or a tattoo parlor but the residents should be grateful that FD would even consider their ‘hood. It’s not like Bloomingdale’s is going to put a store in Southwest Atlanta anytime soon.

Mike

August 24th, 2012
2:05 pm

Family Dollar stores are usually poorly managed, workers are underpaid, stores are filthy, and they do invite crime because of the lack of security in stores located in high crime areas. The items sold there are cheap but sub-standard in relation to other similar retail stores. This is probably the reason for targeting poor neighborhoods.

Bob Leblah

August 24th, 2012
2:30 pm

Talk about reverse logic. what a joke. The Family Dollar attracts crime? There is no chicken and egg thing going on here.

MrsWinners

August 24th, 2012
2:32 pm

YEAH! Down with Dollar General, put in a Mrs Winners!

rgbutterfly

August 24th, 2012
2:33 pm

I believe the citizens in the Cascade area SHOULD have input in what industries are in their neighborhood. I agree FD does invite more than cheaper prices. I am glad the citizens are putting up a fight!

Family $ hater

August 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

The Family Dollar store on North Avenue is a horrible neighbor in the Old Fourth Ward. I’ve never seen so many people just hanging out in a parking lot. All the punks from Boulevard have simply set up shop there in the parking lot. It is filthy to boot. Good luck keeping them out of your neighborhood.

All you need to know is...

August 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

It’s better to have businesses moving in than moving out…

Sally

August 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

Good grief! These people need to get a life.

tim

August 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

What are THEY complaining about now??

THEY complain when a company doesn’t want to serve THEIR community’.

Now, THEY complain that a company wants to serve their hood.

Family Dolla attracts crime………

Well, the perps don’t have to go far cuz they live right there.

old school doc

August 24th, 2012
2:35 pm

Are they selling books, and fruits and vegetables? If not, we don’t need them.

There are already enough stores around here selling junk. I think we just may be able to survive in 30311 without ANOTHER white metal, UGLY FD store in our area.

Jeremy

August 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

Targeting Black Areas? Are you kidding me? I am white and live in a predominately white community and we have 6 “Dollar” type stores and I love it.

Christopher Seward

August 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

Let’s remain civil in commenting.

Bob Leblah

August 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

Title Max got yo money, yo money yo real money!!! hahahah!

LMM

August 24th, 2012
2:36 pm

@Inhabitant – You people???? Really?

The comments here are very mean, filled with a lot of hate and not filled with a lot of truth! Have you never heard the saying – if you have nothing nice to say, shut up and keep it to yourself?

jarvis

August 24th, 2012
2:38 pm

If you don’t want it, don’t shop there. If sales are lackluster, the store won’t be open long.

Brian Marcus

August 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

It’s obvious the first(6)comments to this blog were written by the same ignorant person.

Bob Leblah

August 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

well doc, then make it worth it for nicer stores to move in. Dollar General, just like every other store, evaluates whether to move in based on whether they will profit.

Real American

August 24th, 2012
2:41 pm

Too late Christopher. I suspect you anticipated the type of comments you were inviting by this. You should have gone with your instincts and not allowed comments.

mark in jc

August 24th, 2012
2:41 pm

If the property owner proposes to use the property for the purposes allowed by the zoning, the residents and the city really don’t have the legal right to deny them the use of their land just because they don’t like the business or what it stands for. This is true for Family Dollar, Walmart or Chik-fil-A…

Justin

August 24th, 2012
2:42 pm

@ Brian Marcus

August 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

I totally agree with you! Just plain ignorant!

T.R. Alexander

August 24th, 2012
2:42 pm

There is no fight. The Family Dollar store that is under contruction on Cascade Road is a done deal. You can thank your councilmember for this.

weetamoe

August 24th, 2012
2:43 pm

A very nice black family runs the FD store in Tucker. I have bought garden supplies, cleaning supplies, and paper supplies from them.
What needs cleaning up is Stone Mountain. What has happened to home values there?

MrLiberty

August 24th, 2012
2:43 pm

Companies locate where they think the business is. Take the hint Cascade area. Don’t like them, don’t shop there. Pretty simple solution. You either believe in property rights or you don’t.

pj

August 24th, 2012
2:44 pm

There are Dollar Generals in most communities now, and they offer a lot of useful products at good prices that keep people in smaller towns from having to drive to a larger store farther away to get them. I’ve NEVER seen one that seemed to be a crime stop, so it has more to do with the neighborhood. I would think a store like Dollar General would be a good thing for people in a retirement community.

Just Say No

August 24th, 2012
2:45 pm

Good for the residents! They are exactly right. Some of your comments are pathetic. Shame on all the people who hide behind their racist comments. Did it ever occur to any of you that perhaps these areas were once very nice areas to live, hence the protest? No one wants to live where crime and foolishness is invited. And yes, that FD on North Ave. in Old Fourth Ward is very scary during the day.

Mrs. Jackson

August 24th, 2012
2:46 pm

I have never heard such racism!!! If you did your homework you would know that the Cascade Area has always been a middle to upper class “black” neighborhood. Cascade is where YOUR Mayor, doctors, professors and lawyers live! Get your facts straight or visit sometime!

Christopher Seward

August 24th, 2012
2:49 pm

Well, Real American, we shouldn’t disallow commenting because a few won’t play by the rules.

O-Bama

August 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

Yea for them……Family Dollar needs to take their jobs elsewhere. How can we keep people on welfare if business keep trying to hire people? This is shameful l!!!!! Now take your business and your jobs back to the burbs so they can pay the taxes to support my voters!

guest

August 24th, 2012
2:50 pm

Here’s an idea – let’s protest a legitimate business that will BRING NEW JOBS INTO THE COMMUNITY. Idiots.

Redcoat

August 24th, 2012
2:51 pm

Please……..someone report the real reason this community doesn’t want another FD…….There has to be some other reason.

SB

August 24th, 2012
2:52 pm

AJC you need to do a better job at tempering the racist rants on your blogs.

pETER THE WETER

August 24th, 2012
2:52 pm

Family Dollars is not the same as Dollar General. I never really paid attention to the type of areas Family Dollars target…I would think we all want cheap washing powder, soap, lysol, and a sock to stuff in inhabitant/robert’s mouth

guest

August 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

Is it racist calling an animal that walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck a duck?

Tony W

August 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

By reading some of the above comments you can observe racism at its finest. I see some have replaced their white sheets with internet anonymity.

DagnyT

August 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

There is a Family Dollar next to the Aldi and Chick-fil-a in East Cobb. I never considered it a blight. It actually has a fresh look and good prices. I am shocked that people wouldn’t want a clean, attractive, honest business in their neighborhood.

pETER THE WETER

August 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

It is funny how people do not want these citizens protesting FD, but did not say anything when the AJC ran the story of the whites protesting wal-mart in avondale…whites protest stores all the time and they are never asked the real reason. If you live in an area and you do not want the store that is the end of the debate.

atlnative

August 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

To Mrs. Jackson:The Cascade Area was not always “black”.You need to do your homework before you try to educate someone else!

Cheryl

August 24th, 2012
2:56 pm

The Family Dollar near my home in Sargent, GA (Coweta Co.) is very nice and clean. I do not understand the opposition. They have name brands too and cost less than WalMart.
I am not affiliated in any way; just find Family Dollar to be a close to home convenience.

David Allison

August 24th, 2012
2:57 pm

We’ve got a Dollar General in my neighborhood in Tucker. Didn’t know I was being oppressed.

The Beast

August 24th, 2012
3:01 pm

Ummm, Family Dollar does not attract crime. The crime and criminals are already there. I guess these are the same people who say spoons make people fat and guns jump up and kill people. Obviously, if FD has 3 stores in that area already, they see enough sales demand to build another. More tax revenue, more jobs. There’s is a Dollar General in Bethlehem, Georgia that I pass for business about twice a month and there aren’t any people hanging out in the parking lot or selling CD’s. Maybe it’s Cascade and not FD that’s the problem.

Pearl

August 24th, 2012
3:03 pm

stores don’t bring down property value, criminals, lazy people and drugs/crime bring down property value.

Mrs. Jackson

August 24th, 2012
3:03 pm

@ altnative – OK correction……black folks ran white folks out of the area and they didnt turn it into a “hood” . Black folks in the area have actually kept it up pretty good ever since!!!!! Can you believe thatt???? – Cascade was “white” than “black” folks moved in and it didnt turn into a “hood”!!! WOW AMAZING ISNT IT!!!! REally You should visit sometime!! Educated black folks in one area…YES it does exist!!!

Redcoat

August 24th, 2012
3:04 pm

Whose property is FD buying?……..who owns it?……anybody know?

Fedup

August 24th, 2012
3:04 pm

It is people like Inhabitant, Robert and others like them that are catalysts for hatred. They are probably the first ones to blame people of color for every ill in this world. People no matter how poor they are have a right to express their concern about where they live and raise their family. To take this lightly and blame them for all that is dysfunctional in their neighborhoods is wrong. In every neighborhood in the state there are some undesirable people, I bet even in Inhabitant’s. You can’t jugde all people by the action of a few. The lawmakers in the City or County should do a better job when handing out permits to businesses and not letting any one particular business saturate any area of the City/County. Some may think that the Cascade area is the poorest of the poor but I beg to differ. They are tax paying citizens just like Inhabitant, Robert and others and until they are not required to pay taxes they should have a say in whatever comes into their neighborhood. In the best interest of not sounding like a total idiot Inhabitant, Robert and others like them should keep their judgement to themselves. In other words don’t be a narrow minded bigot.

commoncents

August 24th, 2012
3:05 pm

FD will attract crime and thugs! Why don’t they build something that the area really needs and will promote pride and encourage positive growth? They need a new The North Face store or a Whole Foods. After all, if they don’t need cheap necessities, then they could sure use $400 jackets and food that’s 3x the average price.

Oh wait… industry studies show those won’t work in SW Atlanta, only Family Dollar and McDonald’s

jay

August 24th, 2012
3:05 pm

This is true there are several FD in the area. This one is not located off 285, so it would need commmnity support. My guess is that they think they will make money of the high school, retirement homes, and the local dfcs across the street.

Pearl

August 24th, 2012
3:05 pm

@Gungadin…..the fried chicken and watermelon reference is getting old and tiresome. Most races like chicken and watermelon so please stop showing your ignorance.

Idiots

August 24th, 2012
3:06 pm

Ummm…Family Dollar doesn’t “attract crime.” What you have is a population of thugs that won’t magically disappear by preventing a business from opening, which creates jobs and generates revenue.

But you people are too stupid to realize that.

Ha!

August 24th, 2012
3:07 pm

I’m glad some of the people with the racist comments will be dead in a couple of years since this is the same hate that was in place 40+ years ago.

Due Diligence

August 24th, 2012
3:09 pm

This is a free country and I am also fairly certain that Dollar General believes there is a demand for their store to be put in the Cascade area or they wouldn’t be building it there. Clearly they are not worried about saturating the market. Also, if they own the land and it is currently zoned for commercial retail, and theyhave the proper permits etc., there is nothing anyone can do to stop them from building their own store on their own property. The people who are disgruntled should be buying up the land in that area and putting what they want to on there, but that takes a bunch of $doe Ray Me, and it’s easier to sit back and complain than do anything about it.