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Family Dollar Store Closure in Frenchtown

A “store closing” banner stretched across the rails near the front entrance of Family Dollar in Frenchtown, one of the few retailers left in the neighborhood.

Miranda Tatum, a frequent shopper, exited the store pushing a cart full of items in hopes of taking advantage of “everything must go” discounts. By Friday morning, she’d been in the store three times this week.

While she said she’s happy to snag deals, it’s going to be a loss. Tatum said the closure will hit the neighborhood hard, especially those who don’t have transportation.

“A lot of people, when they leave the (bus) terminal, … they can get out right here,” Tatum said. Now, “they got to find another store to go to, so it’s going to be inconvenient for a lot of people.”

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Family Dollar, which has been owned by Dollar Tree since 2015, recently announced it would start closing locations after the chain experienced a “significant underperformance” beginning last year.

Frenchtown, a once thriving community with dozens of businesses in its heyday, has struggled to attract and maintain retailers. Once Family Dollar closes, the only other retail chain presence will be Dollar General a few blocks down on the same street.

Fundra Hart, who popped into the Family Dollar store after hearing about the closure on social media, said the competing Dollar General chain will likely capitalize on the closure and fill in the gaps. Otherwise, she said, “there’s nowhere (else) to shop.”

She used to work in Frenchtown and would stop in Family Dollar on her lunch break, she added. “I think a lot of people, particularly because of the area, didn’t frequent this store,” Hart said, alluding to loitering and panhandling. “(Y)ou would be stopped in the parking lot and stuff like that.”

Frenchtown is deemed a “food desert” because of its limited access to affordable and healthy food, aside from a community garden and farmer’s market through the Heritage Hub on Saturdays.

Located at 540 W. Brevard St., the store is one of approximately 600 Family Dollar stores set to close in the first half of fiscal 2024. Tallahassee has four other locations, none of which appear to be closing at this time. The discount retail chain announced its plans to downsize its storefront inventory in a statement:

City Commissioner Curtis Richardson said he was shocked to learn about the Frenchtown store location closure when contacted by the Tallahassee Democrat.

“I had heard that there would be Family Dollars closing, but I had no idea it would be that one,” he said. “That is one of the major resources in the Frenchtown community for the residents who live there and people who visit. … I don’t know if it’s a major loss, but it’s certainly a loss.”

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