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.
(Staff photographer John Spink contributed to this blog)