Yonkers Dollar Store Needs Change

The Dollar Tree store located at 7 Main Street in downtown Yonkers, is one of two in the area. Store #5095 is adjacent to the Yonkers BID headquarters and conveniently situated in the hub of downtown business retail shops. A large green sign spelling  DOLLAR is compelling and graphically pleasing. The "dollar is on a roll.

The stock price for Dollar Tree closed at $81.19 on May 6, 2016. And according to company CEO, Bob Sasser the future looks bright.

 Sasser added, "2015 was a very successful year for Dollar Tree. I would like to thank all of our associates for their commitment and hard work throughout the year. We continued to serve our loyal customer base by providing terrific values every day; we successfully completed the acquisition of Family Dollar; we initiated, and remain on schedule with, the integration of our companies; and we are on track to achieve our stated synergy targets. Looking ahead, we are committed to growing and improving our Dollar Tree and Family Dollar businesses to better serve more customers, while delivering long-term value to our shareholders."

The value that Sasser refers to is indisputable. Dollar Tree stores offer products such as school supplies, household items, and frozen food at a fraction of the cost seen in major retail establishments. Also, they remain open long after other stores have pulled down their shutters. But the Dollar Tree experience comes with a price.

Store #5095 is a frequent chaotic display of strewn goods and misunderstood checkout lines which change from three lanes to two without direction. The checkout time on a given day varies from fast at night to fifteen minutes on a weekend afternoon.  Although the store is presently hiring, it still lags behind.  A busy Saturday (photo) shows two cashiers servicing a waiting line of thirty people.

 Merchandise on the floor creates a hazardous condition for those customers and the lack of it in particular displays creates a shopping  void. Dollar Tree does offer an online service where the customer can order in advance and pick up at their local store, to alleviate that line.  However, their 24 hour order line does not operate for the full 24 hour period and their "quick delivery" date changes from one week to a two week estimate.  

But, the "Dollar" remains strong. In July 2015, Dollar Tree purchased and merged the Family Dollar store chain, creating a long anticipated threat to the Walmart stores by luring the low income buyer. In a statement, Sasser said the Family Dollar acquisition will allow Dollar Tree “to extend our reach to low-income customers, while strengthening and diversifying our footprint.”

In a twist of irony, it is that very sales strategy which prompted local residents to switch from consumers to activists. A group known as the Hudson River Association held a demonstration in 2014 protesting the plan to build a Family Dollar store on Glenwood and Warburton in downtown Yonkers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4UqlZEMXkw  Citing reasons such as an increase in traffic and a decline in property values, the plan was stalled for a year but is now under construction and near completion at that address.

The new Family Dollar store will relieve the managerial burden of the Main Street store by steering customers to the Glenwood location. But will the laissez faire business practice continue at store #5095. In addition will it duplicate at the Glenwood site? It remains to be seen.

In the interim, what will be seen is a retail eyesore. The City of Yonkers will host Yonkers Art Week on May 14th. The third annual event is an integral part in the grand plan of gentrifying the Y.O. Potential developers, artists, renters and home buyers will visit the so called "New Hoboken"  and they will stop into store #5095.

But according to Bob Sasser. "Even if you're a low-income customer, you can have a clean store," Sasser said at Dollar Tree's annual shareholders meeting at the Founders Inn and Spa. "You can have a bright store. You can have a friendly store."

Maybe the visitors can too.