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3/6/2003

Buck season

By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — By the end of its fiscal year in August, Family Dollar Store intends to expand its no-frills empire — a 42-state, 6,000-store enterprise that netted $4 billion-plus last year — by 575 new locations, including one in Longmont.

Family Dollar doors will open at Ninth Avenue and Coffman Street by late April, according to local developer David Chaknova. Additionally, the more upscale national discount chain, Tuesday Morning, signed a letter of intent and plans to follow suit in March, despite two recent Boulder store closures.

Chaknova said the two outfits, which will split 16,000 square feet of the total 21,000-square-foot building that is currently home to Liquor World, should generate an estimated $6 million in annual sales.

“I believe this will be a great boost to the downtown area with quality national tenants,” Chaknova said.

Family Dollar spokeswoman Florence Stanley said the Longmont location will hire seven or eight full- and part-time employees. Since Family Dollar’s inception in 1959, its work force has ballooned to an estimated 38,000 people to sell low-price goods to lower- and middle-class consumers.

The Web site shows that 17 stores dot Colorado, with Loveland being the closest one to Longmont shoppers until the local grand opening.

Stanley said the North Carolina-based company felt comfortable banking on the Longmont location.

“We found consumers there are seeking good values and low-priced, first-quality basic merchandise for family and home needs,” Stanley said.

The store typically stocks a hodgepodge from health and beauty aids to automotive supplies to food, paint, underwear and picture frames.

Chaknova said cutting the Family Dollar deal and negotiating with Safeway to secure the space took about two years.

“But this is a good match for myself and the city,” he said.

Safeway operated at the property for 22 years until April 1992, when it relocated to a new 62,000-square-foot store on Florida Avenue and South Pratt Parkway. Shortly thereafter, Budget Home Center moved in and stayed until May 1999, when it also relocated for more space, to 780 Boston Ave.

Liquor World has leased the entire space since the summer of 2000 and will stay on to occupy the remaining 5,000 square feet on the building’s westernmost side, according to manager Mandy Lujan.

Brad Schol, Longmont’s director of planning, explained that retail spaces typically turn over at a comparable rate.

“It’s pretty routine,” he said.

Meanwhile, the city’s building-inspection division is reviewing Chaknova’s remodel permit and expects no snags.

“Is the city interested in a strong and viable retail sector in the community? Yes,” Schol said. “I’m glad David’s got something cookin’ over there.”

Pam Mellskog can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 224, or by e-mail at pmellskog@times-call.com.