Is Family Dollar Bad For Seminole Heights?

The Seminole Heights community faces a daunting question between character and convenience.

The revitalization of Florida Avenue is an ongoing process and is close to the hearts of many Seminole Heights residents. Now, a corporate retail giant which appears to be moving into the neighborhood has those hearts racing with discontent.

Five hundred sixty four people thus far have liked the No Seminole Heights Facebook page and a website has been created solely for the purpose of educating and informing local residents on the progress of the fight to keep the chain "box store" out of a neighborhood many want to see continue its historic restoration.

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The Official Unoffical Seminole Heights blog page is currently flooded with comments on the issue, some outraged by the lack of local flavor a Family Dollar will bring to the neighborhood, others unable to comprehend what the issue is.

"I know we all like to think we are so important, but is the property zoned for the Dollar store? If it is we don’t have anything to say about it! Also on the plus side it will create some employment in the neighborhood," one commenter said.

Another user named Woodrow Smits weighed in with this: "Family Dollar will be a great addition to the neighborhood. They offer a wide variety of products at reasonable prices, which is just what people living in depressed neighborhoods need during these tough economic times."

But the majority of residents giving serious attention to the issue are not at all pleased by the prospect of the property at 5100 North Florida Avenue (big white building between Cappy's and The Independent) becoming a chain retailer of goods often made outside of the United States.

"There are 4 of these less than two miles away from here. This is a major step back for Seminole Heights, and all the homeowners adjacent to this. Absolutely horrible. A slap in the face, and discouraging to those that are actually investing in the area," one comment said.

A post on the Facebook page cites facts about Family Dollar jobs, the effect the retailer has on commercial property and local home values and most importantly, the downside of not sticking with locally owned mom and pop shops. Some simply point to the fact that poorly maintained Family Dollar locations already exist in the area and they don't understand the need for another store.

A Tampa Bay Times article outlined a meeting that took place last Sunday at The Refinery in which local residents voiced their concerns and created ways to get organized for a movement against Family Dollar. The article notes racial and socio-economic tension in the discussion, although many in attendance felt that view was skewed.

A comment on the Seminole Heights blog site confirmed that some may be taking it that way, however.

"You can’t stop a business just because it doesn’t your socio-economic ideal. There is not a legal leg to stand on," the comment read.

Whether it's a fear of low quality foreign made merchandise being pumped out of a storefront that doesn't fit the character of the neighborhood and is likely to be slovenly kept or a general concern for the business structure of Seminole Heights, the movement against Family Dollar continues to pick up steam.

. This page include links to other Seminole Heights Patch articles, various local news reports, community links as well as coverage from other cities that have fought Family Dollar.

We want to know what you think. Is another Family Dollar store at the 5100 North Florida Avenue location bad for Seminole Heights? Tell us in the comments section below.

More links:

Latest Seminole Heights Patch coverage:

  • Blog Post: 

Other local news coverage:

Family Dollar news from around the country:

If you're looking to get involved in the 'No Family Dollar Movement,' Seminole Heights Patch has compliled the following info:


Yard signs:

You can pick up 'No Family Dollar' yard signs at the following local businesses, according to NoFamilyDollar.com:

  • , 4906 North Florida Avenue
  • , 5207 North Florida Avenue
  • , 6112 North Central Avenue

joe cole August 09, 2012 at 05:50 PM
This store is not good for a historic neighborhood. It does not foster community pride. It's actually an embarrassment.
anon August 09, 2012 at 10:13 PM
DC, Publix may be a chain but they are regionally based and donate to many, many community events - I've yet to run in a FD 5K sponsored race or take my kids to a park that FD employees helped rejuvenate . Publix also provides the option for benefits, stock and the ability to rise through the company for a career - haven't seen that opportunity discussed in many, many article written on the web regarding FD.
Doug Carter August 10, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Thank you for bringing up Publix, anon. How about using your actual name? If you can't own your words, then refrain from expressing them. So you say that some chains are acceptable for the location, eh? If that is true then it is both hypocritical and classist. Hypocritical because if the No Family Dollar focus is on protecting the local independent businesses being evicted and the jobs they provide then no chain would be acceptable. If the only difference in this situation were Trader Joe's instead of Family Dollar, there would be no resulting No Trader Joe's campaign. You think Trader Joe's is a poor analogy? I don't, it's right up NFD folks alley. But okay, fine. Replace TJ with an acceptable chain. Starbucks got in, so there would be one. If you accept Trader Joe's (or whatever) but not Family Dollar, then you are a hypocrite because both would be evicting local independent businesses, taking existing jobs, are out of state corporate chains with low wage part time jobs, increased traffic and parking. You are a classist because TJ (or whatever) is your type of business with the right kind of prices, products, employees and customers but FD is not. Nothing wrong with that, just admit it. It is a requirement of logic to be consistent. And again, anonymous posters have no credibility. Have the courage to express your convictions or keep them to yourself.
Pat Alexander August 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Do you know there is this facebook page as well that is not specifically related to Seminole Heights: https://www.facebook.com/BoycottFamilyDollar
Doug Carter August 10, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Pat, do you know that there are Facebook pages and websites calling for action against many businesses? You post might be relevant if, when word got out about the proposed Family Dollar, some people said, "Hey! They have employee safety problems. Let's get a meeting organized!", instead of "Hey! I'll have to look at it and it's cleintele! Let's get a meeting organized!". The other issues were added later. Remember the meeting? "Is it the aesthetics? Yes! Is It the people? Yes!" By the by, my wife is painting our bedroom and sent me out for 2 venetian blinds. I went to Family Dollar as that is where we buy them. Upon checkout, the clerk abruptly looked at the screen and said, "Wait a minute" and called the manager to come up. It seems that the register charged $8.50 each and the clerk thought that they were $5.50, which they are. The manager, who arrived quickly, agreed. Wow1 What excellent customer service. I didn't have a chance to point ti out, the employee, probably a neighbor, was right on it. We laughed about it and funnily enough, I left my reading glasses on my forehead, misread the screen, and accidently canceled the transaction! I made a joke about how i should wear my glasses right or don't wear them. The neighbor behind me in line, gave me a look, pointed at her glasses and said, "We're all getting old". Me, the clerk, the manager and the other 2 customers all laughed. What a nice experience in our neighborhood.
Doug Carter August 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
This was at the Neb. Ave. store by Publix. It was clean and friendly. I noticed the plywood many have complained about. Big deal. A couple sheets of plywood. I went to the FD by Mega Supermarket first, our usual, but they didn't have the right size. It was clean and friendly as always. We don't go often but would go more if it was in walking distance. Easy to pick up things you need. Our 25 y/o daughter shops there often due to her financial necessity. Before I left for FD, we discussed the NFD movement. She said shopping at Family dollar is how most of her old gang (pre-rehab/NA) managed to afford the Independent. I laughed my arse.
Whine and Moan August 11, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Here are some more Facebook boycott pages - fyi boycott fox news boycott walmart boycott apple boycott starbucks forever boycott mcdonalds boycott chic-fil-a boycott home depot boycott disney would you like some more?
Casual Observer August 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Thank you, Shawn for stating my thoughts exactly. Recently, in light of all this controversy, I drove up Florida avenue, specifically by the property in question and its surrounding buildings and businesses. I was surprised to see the unkempt condition of this building. No one can deny that this property didn't get to looking that way overnight. And please don't anyone use the excuse that the businesses that are there are only tenants and that it falls on the landlord to maintain the building's exterior. For crying out loud, there is PLANT LIFE growing on the roof of the building and cascading down the wall. Those businesses that got run out of there, were they proud of the look of the property? Granted, FD stores for the most part are not kept up, but you folks are in a glass house and throwing stones! I applaud surrounding businesses like Forever Beautiful, Independent, Refinery, Yesterdaze for the attractive appearance of their businesses.
Casual Observer August 11, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Casual Observer ... continued ... But in my latest observations, the green building on the corner of Osborne and Florida, which houses Tampa Street Market, is seriously in need of some scraping and painting, unless all that chipping paint on the Florida facing exterior is considered part of their "character". Same goes for the building that Microgroove and that auto repair shop attached is in - can you tell me that it isn't also in need of some exterior attention? Even the No-Tell Motel on the west side of the street is better attended to than some of the other buildings it surrounds. After my tour up the street, I asked myself this question - "If I were to open a small business, would any of these buildings appeal to me?" My answer was "no". While I am not sold on another FD popping up, I can't help but play "devil's advocate" here and say, "shame on you who do not keep up with your commercial properties." How can you go and critique FD's when your own businesses do not have the appeal to attract customers. The businesses in the white building had plenty opportunity to spruce up the property, even if the landlord wasn't going to step up to do it. Like Shawn, I too thought it vacant. Look at Yesterdaze - Sherry leases that property. Her landlord did not paint the outside of her building, she did. She could have stuck to a monotone, milquetoast beige, but she took the initiative (and expense) to make her business stand out in a very funky, attractive way.
Chuck Stephens August 11, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I think expanding their inventory to include more historically apropriate items. I know a few of the NFD crowd would love to see FD's customers wear more rags and chains like the old days. Relax- that's called sarcasm.
Chuck Stephens August 12, 2012 at 06:51 PM
This issue has forced me to do something I swore I'd never do- start a Facebook page. Seminole Heights Residents for Equality and Discourse (www.facebook.com/shredseminoleheights) is there to offer a balanced reply to the No Family Dollar movement and to resist any initiative that puts the interests of business and profit above the interests of the residents of our neighborhood. The page is sparse right now but it will be full of info soon. Go there and download our flyer and let them know how you feel. Our neighborhood is awesome- let's keep it that way!
Chris Taylor August 12, 2012 at 07:18 PM
I just wanted to point out some new coverage of the issue. Frequent commenter Doug Carter penned an open letter to the 'No Family Dollar' movement in a blog post: http://patch.com/B-ckS2 Also, I added some new links from Patch and other local media to our "Family Dollar Issue: Complete Coverage" page: http://patch.com/A-wG3H Lastly, We welcome all types of local voices to use our blogging platform as a way contribute to the conversation in Seminole Heights (not just about Family Dollar). If you would like to have your own blog on Patch, you can get started here: http://seminoleheights.patch.com/blog/apply
Worldwalker August 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM
You mock someone for a typo in "destroy" yet you write "toot sweet" when you presumably mean "tout suite"?
Worldwalker August 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM
No, your "sarcastic points" are not clarifying anything. They are simply nasty. They have convinced me, at least, that you do not have a defensible opinion, and instead you are using that nastiness to keep people who do not want to get into a mud-fight from disagreeing with you. That does not benefit this discussion.
Worldwalker August 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM
"Why not work with Dean Koutroumanis and Family Dollar to make them better citizens?" Because people in the neighborhood have no influence over Family Dollar's hiring and compensation policies. The store might be persuaded to change its facade, but it won't hire people full-time. It won't pay more than minimum wage. It won't provide insurance. And all the "working with" in the world won't change that.
Worldwalker August 13, 2012 at 12:48 PM
If you are a teacher, I pity your students. Sarcasm, insults, and put-downs may silence disagreement with you in the short term, but they are not a productive approach in the long term.
Worldwalker August 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM
"Because Doug Carter makes logical points." Well ... no. I've been a member of boards far more contentious than this one for a very long time (all the way back to Usenet before the Great Renaming) and one thing has always proven true: It's not the people who make logical points who get all the replies; it's the trolls. It's the people who are rude and disagreeable, often deliberately trying to anger other people for attention, who, indeed, get that attention. It's true on every board I've ever been on, and will no doubt remain true as long as human nature remains human nature. So don't flatter yourself by thinking people are reacting to you because you are right, or even logical. They're reacting as they are because you're rude.
Pat Alexander August 13, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Worldwalker there is a simple solution to trolls etc. Once identified, don't bother to read or respond. Their audience dries up.
Doug Carter August 13, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Worldwalker, sarcasm is a time honored way to exemplify inanity and illogic. As for a defensible position, http://seminoleheights.patch.com/blog_posts/an-open-letter-to-no-family-dollar I await your response to the entire letter. But please comment there. Also, have the courage of your convictions and use your name. Thank you.
Doug Carter August 13, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Anonymouswalker, You expect the NFD brigade to stop the sale, I'd think that it would be easier to persuade them to work with such a large group of consumers. I wasn't aware that the local businesses were providing lots of high wage, fulltime positions with health insurance. I regret my error. (That's sarcasm. I used it to point out your poor logic.).
Doug Carter August 13, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Why do you pity my students? Is it because I do my best to teach them the importance of analysis in order to make better decisions and understand their world? (Again, sarcasm).
Doug Carter August 13, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Ms. Alexander and Ms. World, I find it interesting that you have not given a response to http://seminoleheights.patch.com/blog_posts/an-open-letter-to-no-family-dollar Please comment there to the entire letter.
Doug Carter August 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Anonymous person with egg on your face, Good thing you used an alias! I presume that you mean 'tout de suite' as there is no "toot suite". Toot sweet is an accepted Anglicization of tout de suite, unlike "distory" which isn't anything. Some friendly advice: if you aren't certain when you criticize, don't hit submit. (Unless, of course, you don't mind the proverbial egg on your face). I wait to hear how you respond
Pat Alexander August 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Chris is there any way you can reverse the posting of comments so that the most current ones are at the beginning and the older ones at the end. I think that would better catch people's attention. Maybe I'm lazy but I don't like having to guess if there is something new. Thanks for your consideration.
Whine and Moan August 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM
the plywood is a patch due to a car crashed into the building about 2 mnths ago. They are probably waiting for an insurance settlement. I shop at that store when I can get a ride over there. Its a nice place and very friendly, clean and well stocked too.
joe julius September 05, 2012 at 12:46 PM
everyone screaming about family dollar not being local and taking money away from the community (don't get me wrong, i strongly oppose another family dollar anywhere in seminole heights) but how many of the new 'local' mom and pops are residents of seminole heights or even tampa? it's my understanding that the owner of the independent lives in st pete and the owner of the 'coming soon' red rock star does not live in tampa either, someone told me he lives in plant city.... not sure about domani, but i think south tampa.... so there seems to be quite a few of 'carpetbaggers' moving into seminole heights motivated by the possible profits from our community only to take this money outside of the community.... i know sherry at yesterdaze is a seminole heights resident, but what about the others that are coming into the area? no seems to mind their money leaving the area with these folks and i do admit they do bring an improvement to the neighborhood...
Carolyn Simpson October 04, 2012 at 09:46 PM
When was the property sold to Family Dollar?
Sharon Short January 11, 2013 at 05:15 PM
FYI...The FamilyDollar is NOT going between Cappy's and The Independant. It is going in the block of Florida Ave, North of the Independant (North of Wilder Ave).
Sharon Short January 11, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Chris...If you are with the Patch, will you please correct the description of the location of the new Family Dollar to the right location? It is NOT located between the Independant and Cappy's. It is actually just NORTH of the the Independant on the SW corner of Florida Ave and Wilder Ave. Thanks, Sharon
Chris Taylor January 15, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Thanks, Sharon Short, for pointing out that we placed the location a bit too far south in this early article on the topic. I made a correction and added a note. Thanks again!


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