by Daniel Haase
There are numerous articles that support what Ms Davis is pointing out. They are killers for any other type of business, especially a grocery store, and they do not supply people with anything much in the way of unprocessed food.
I think it is time for the city to do an analysis of the density of these stores and figure out some way to keep it from getting worse. This could be based on population to be served, or so many per square mile. The Supreme Court has already confirmed that cities have a right to control where various businesses are built through zoning. If the zoning is not able to be the control mechanism (that is, the zoning already allows it), then the population rule could be used.
Alternatively, cities could pressure these stores to start supplying fresh produce and others less-processed foods. If they want to saturate an area with stores and they know they are killing other business models, they have a responsibility to be a welcome partner in the neighborhood. I know Dollar General is testing out the fresh produce idea, but have not heard how it is going. There is no reason you have to purchase food at a giant supermarket if what you do have access to serves that need. That’s how it was done 100 years ago, anyway.
First, the city leadership will have to decide if this is a battle worth fighting. They talk a good game (Blue Zones and other healthy alternatives). I don’t see why this isn’t an issue to be tackled.
Subject: Glen Crest Civic League neighborhood protests one more Family Dollar store
Glen Crest Neighborhood needs our voices to battle against another Dollar Store in the area. The same thing is beginning to happen throughout our neighborhood as well.
Please send letters to Ms Davis, not sure if this has made it to any agenda yet or if it’s just in the planning stages but possibly LaShanda can respond to us all as to what we can do to help.
FORT WORTH RESIDENT PROTEST FAMILY DOLLAR STORE AT S. RIVERSIDE AND GLEN EDEN
The area has nine (9) Family Dollar stores located in a three-mile radius of the proposed site at these locations:
- 3033 S. Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76104
- 4108 Martin Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76119
- 3101 Wilbarger Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76119
- 4940 S. Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76115
- 4025 Hemphill Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76110
- 5100 McCart Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76115
- 2719 W. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76133
- 1700 Sycamore School Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76134
- 3324 Mansfield Highway, Forest Hill, Texas 76119
“Family Dollar stores are not economic development. On the contrary, they set the bar on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. There is money in this area that is spent in other parts of the city. We need supermarkets and sit down restaurants. We are asking entrepreneurs and national supermarket chains to take a serious look at what we have here and join us.” says Davis.
In a recent article, published by CityLab and written by Tanvi Misra on December 20, 2018, “It has become an increasingly common story: A dollar store opens up in an economically depressed area with scarce healthy and affordable food options, sometimes with the help of local tax incentives. It advertises hard-to-beat low prices but it offers little in terms of fresh produce and nutritious items – further trapping residents in a cycle of poverty and ill-health.” Although ‘affordable’ in their claim, Family Dollar lacks fresh and healthy food – and this store will gut our local and independently owned businesses.
Glen Crest Civic League neighborhood is bounded by S. Riverside Dr. and Mansfield Highway on the West; Mitchell Blvd. and Wichita St. on the East; E. Berry and E. Berry South on the North; and E. Seminary Dr. on the South.
The population is approximately 80% African American, 15% Caucasian and 5% Hispanic.
But, are the dollar stores the real problem?
by BOHN resident Kathryn Kroll
As a customer of both Dollar General and the Family Dollar stores,this is my response to the Glen Crest neighborhood:
Kroger, Minyards, Fiesta, Walmart Market left us years ago.
The dollar stores did NOT kill the grocery stores in our area. Those stores were long gone before the dollar stores built and moved in. You should not blame a business for filling a void created by another business leaving.
The maps above show that there are few major chain grocery stores from I-35 east, to East Loop 820.
Did anyone protest at Braums when they expanded their stores to include more fresh fruits and veggies? Is it Baums fault for Kroger leaving?
So why did the other chains leave?
Not enough profit?
Too much shoplifting?
Not a high income neighborhood?
All of the above?
How are any of the dollar stores chains surviving when other retailers could not?
Yes, the dollar stores are moving in to high density areas with no grocery stores and they are doing a good business. For the folks living in the nearby apartments, many who use public transportation, those stores mean a mom can walk to the store, grab essentials and not waste time waiting on a bus, or leave the kids home alone for several hours while she shops.
Show me the nutritional difference between a gallon of milk and a box of name-brand cereal purchased from a grocery store or from the dollar stores. There is none.
I shop for food at the Eastchase Aldi. It has a small fresh fruits & veggie section, but minimal ‘cleaning supplies’ products so I have to buy those at one of the dollar stores, which is fine by me. The name-brand laundry products are priced lower than at grocery stores or Walmart where they are marked up for profits. Why would I spend up to 50 cents more per product at a grocery store than I do at the dollar store?
Show me all the privately owned “mom & pop” food retailers located in residential neighborhoods of Fort Worth.
Show me an entrepreneur who has the capital to open an independent retail grocery / food business.
Show me one business person that has even applied to open up a new grocery store in any existing retail location. (I dont think anyone is applying, so you can’t say dollar stores are killing the business. Can’t kill what isn’t there.)
As for fresh food, fruits and veggies, where are the local farmers market stands, like the folks who had a trailer at the Handley Cafe? Where are the farmer trucks delivering fresh produce like the ice cream trucks do? Fort Worth made it legal, so where are they? I’m still waiting!
These dollar stores provide employment to the folks other retailers reject. It’s a real job, close to homeand they paychecks are real.
Where are the plans to create more dispersed lower income housing, take vacant land and turn it into city farms that GROW fresh vegetables, and provide more bus routes from apartments to major grocery stores?
Don’t blame the dollar stores for moving in where a solid customer base resides, and where they have minimal retail competition.
And for those of you doing the complaining, let me hear from you AFTER you WALK to your nearest grocery store and walk home with the bags. Or take a bus and time the excursion.
May 20 update:
I don’t disagree with anything you said. In fact, I am often defending these stores because you can make a decent part of your food purchases there. I usually get laughed out of the room when I say those kinds of things, and I probably sound like I am walking back my earlier comments. Both chains have gotten much better at this than they used to be. They have expanded their food offerings from those a decade ago.
Having said all that, most of the stuff you can eat that can be purchased in these stores is still snacks, chips, cookies, and Cokes-heavy, in addition to mostly highly processed frozen foods. Yes, you can buy milk, eggs, flour, and canned goods. But there is no meat, no produce, and much of the rest is not in the “good” part of today’s dietary guidelines. See https://www.choosemyplate.gov/. And food items only occupy maybe 20% of the store’s footprint.
So if they are going to saturate the market (or if you prefer, fill a void) and be a primary source for groceries for people, then they have a responsibility to step up to the plate and do it properly. Once these stores reach a certain density, no grocery store could possibly expect to enter the market and compete, so this even gives more weight to the role they should be meeting.
We have all heard recently that people who live in 76104 have a much lower life expectancy, although some of the data are a little suspect. Actuarial tables show that on average, black people live five years less than white people. That is wrong, though it would be simplistic to blame that on just available food choices. It also can’t be ignored.
That is where I think city leadership could help. There need to be some density controls so they aren’t the category killer OR the stores need to get closer to healthy offerings than they are right now. The city could “encourage” them to get there quicker.
As I said earlier, these stores have a responsibility to be a welcome partner in the neighborhood. I shop in these stores quite often. I am glad they are not my only option for food, but if they did it right, I would have no problem shopping there for more of my food. It’s generally a lot closer than a full-sized grocery store anyway.
Bottom line: I think the city needs to look at this trend sufficiently to say they have looked out for the health of its citizens. It’s still up to each of us to make good choices. We must first have good choices to make.