The fight over the proposed demolition of a church on West Main St. is about more than historic preservation. It’s also about the proliferation of dollar stores.
Marvin Maye wants to tear down the 140-year-old former Westminster Presbyterian Church and put up a Dollar General. He said the building is in truly terrible shape and got the state to agree.
As for building a dollar store on the lot, Maye points to the low-income housing going up all along the strip. “Panera isn’t coming here,” Maye said.
Meanwhile, neighbors in the Susan B. Anthony area are horrified at both the demolition and the idea of a dollar store. There are already several within a mile radius.
This fight has played out in many communities across the United States. Dollar General, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have found a niche as the economy soured. Proponents say the dollar stores offer affordable goods in so-called “food deserts,” places with no full-scale supermarkets.
Opponents of dollar stores decry their unhealthy food options, potential to push out mom-and-pop stores, unsightliness. The opponents desire more diverse retail options. There have been dollar store fights in Philadelphia and Atlanta. New Orleans proposed restrictions for “medium box” stores:
“Family Dollar and Dollar General have got to become more sensitive to the needs of the communities they are going into,” Councilman Jon Johnson said. “They have got to become better corporate citizens.”
The two discount chains are “running everybody else off because they buy up the property,” Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said. “They’re just saying, ‘This is all you’re going to get.'”
Their increasingly ubiquitous presence “is defeating the purpose of us trying to get retail back into the East, back into the city,” Hedge-Morrell said.
The City of Rochester just got done passing strict regulations for bodegas, seen as attracting crime. The corner stores have also been accused of preying on the poor by selling diapers and cigarettes individually. But the city totally skipped over dollar stores.
Was that a mistake?
Links of the Day:
- A beautiful spiral Frank Lloyd Wright house in Arizona could be torn down by developers.
- An art student from Rochester made Play-Doh busts of Obama and Romney and won an award.
- Some California sex offenders are suing over laws that don’t let them display Halloween decorations or give out candy. Good. These laws are ludicrous and do nothing to protect people.
- Have you noticed a lot of your friends getting gel manicures? They’re hot. They’re also expensive and expose your hands to UV rays.
- NFL players think their new jerseys make them look fat. Poor babies.