The new Family Dollar store opened in Preston last Thursday and has been busy welcoming customers into its aisles throughout its grand opening week.  BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
The new Family Dollar store opened in Preston last Thursday and has been busy welcoming customers into its aisles throughout its grand opening week. BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
Over the past few months, travelers coming through town on Highway 52 have witnessed the construction of a new Family Dollar store in Preston. As the time drew near for the opening, people could see electricians working in the building, shelves being installed and merchandise being laid out. Citizens anticipated the new store to be a tremendous asset to the community.

On Thursday, April 10, the store opened its doors to the community for the first time and Family Dollar Corporation welcomed a new region into its outreach.

Family Dollar began in 1959 as the brainchild of 21-year-old Leon Levine in Charlotte, N.C. His goal was to provide his customers with "high-quality, good value merchandise for under two dollars" at a "low-overhead, self-service retail store," according to the company website.

As a result of growing up in a family immersed in the retailing business, he understood customer service and value. His belief was "the customers are the boss and you need to keep them happy."

In order to provide customers with their products with ease, Levine created a floor plan he used in all of his stores. Rather than having his employees focus on the merchandise arrangement, they turned their attention toward customer service. This method proved successful to his business and the corporation eventually expanded into an 8,000-store company chain spread across 46 states, proving to be one of the fastest growing retailers in the country.

Their reach recently spread to this area of the country as well, opening businesses in Stewartville, Rushford and now Preston. Elizabeth Strain, manager of the Preston Family Dollar described the company as "a really competitive business having the sense of family and community where larger corporations just do not."

In competing with businesses such as Walmart, Family Dollar offers a unique selection of basic necessities and favored merchandise. The Family Dollar mission states "to be a compelling place to shop for our customers. Being a compelling place to shop means we strive to offer our customers a unique mix of products ranging from food and beverages to household cleaners, laundry products, housewares and apparel. With the help of our vendor community we are able to keep our costs low enabling us to pass those savings down to our customer."

As people seek to save money, many choose to patronize Family Dollar rather than going to more expensive stores. Another way to save money for the Preston-area residents is being able to acquire the basic necessities without using up the gas and driving almost 40 miles to Rochester to buy them.

"I have always lived here. I know it will be nice to have more options to shop at and have a place to get the basics locally rather than traveling to Rochester," Strain commented. "If a parent needs to get a white shirt for a child, instead of going to Walmart, they can stop here and get one easily."

Another benefit to the community comes in the provision of more jobs to local residents as a result of the new store, which Strain appreciates.

The employees currently working at Family Dollar are local residents, but the interviewing stage has yet to be completed. Strain expressed the store will employ between eight to 10 employees after the hiring process is completed.

The company is dedicated to bringing great value and convenience into the lives of Preston residents and everywhere their stores have a home. Looking at the merchandise at the new store, a little bit of everything is provided for customers. Products including cleaning supplies, automotive products, basic clothing, hygiene products, health and beauty items, pet food, pillows and a grocery section are just a few of the items available to the area resident at the new store.

"Many who have come have said they did not realize we carry so much and have such a decent food section," Strain said.

Strain and her employees invite all to come in and check out the store and the items it has to offer. The grand opening is planned for Saturday, April 19, and flyers will be arriving in mailboxes featuring coupons and specials.

The store is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.