Demolition Alert 15: circa 1853 Farmhouse in Bristol, New Hampshire to Meet Family Dollar Wrecking Ball

Family Dollar Store

Family Dollar Store

In a theme that is becoming all too common, another piece of Northern New England’s heritage, in this case a circa 1853 farmhouse in Bristol, New Hampshire, meets the Family Dollar wrecking ball (see Google Map below). From the Plymouth Record Enterprise (pdf):

At their last regular meeting, the Bristol Planning Board began site plan review for a proposed Family Dollar Store to be located on Pleasant Street, Route 104W, near Hannaford Supermarket and across from the Bristol Veterinary Clinic.

The developer, Jonathan T. White, appeared before the board with a proposal to purchase the property, demolish the existing residential building, built circa 1853, and construct a new 80-foot-by-100-foot building to be leased to Family Dollar for a retail store with 29 parking spaces and landscaping.

This is also occuring in Maine where we recently learned that another building (possibly historic) was demolished in downtown Madison, Maine to make way for a Family Dollar store. From the Kennebec Journal:

The town has joined a growing list of municipalities across the country that offer Family Dollar stores.

Construction has begun on an 8,000-square-foot, downtown Family Dollar store that will sell a mix of household items, seasonal products, food and apparel, with an opening scheduled for summer.

The center steel beam of the structure went up at 20 Old Point Ave., in a space that once held an appliance store and attached house, on Monday.

We thought that this passage was particularly distressing:

Family Dollar’s website says the company is one of the fastest-growing discount retail chains in the United States. It has about 7,100 stores in 45 states, and between Feb. 2 and 16 it is scheduled to open 20 new stores.

In 2012, it estimates, it will open about 450 to 500 new stores and close 80 to 100.

Family Dollar opens stores in areas that serve low- to middle-income customers, according to the company. It aims to have a minimum of 8,000 people in the store’s trade area, which typically encompasses a 10-mile radius in rural towns.

The core customer is a female head of household in her mid-40s making less than $40,000 per year, the site states.

So, in essence, Family Dollar is sort of an economic vulture of retail that targets economically distressed towns. It’s particularly frightening to think that they are able to open “450 to 500” of these stores across America just in 2012 and that there are already 7,100 of them.

Adding insult to injury, every Family Dollar constructed lately seems to come at the expense of our historical heritage–for instance, also see this post on Family Dollar expanding in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Also, as shown in the picture up top, Family Dollar stores aren’t in danger of winning any architectural design awards anytime soon. So it’s a lose-lose proposition from an aesthetic standpoint.

And don’t forget about the Dollar General wrecking ball that has been plaguing towns in southwestern, New Hampshire.


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