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Celebrating Store No. 8,000

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New Family Dollar opens on Charlotte Highway

By Chris Sardelli

What’s the significance of the number 8,000?

For mountain climbers, the “eight-thousanders” refers to the 14 tallest mountains on the planet over 8,000 feet, though for singer Selena Gomez and actress Emma Watson, the number 8,000 instead represents their average Twitter followers in a single month. 

But for Howard Levine, CEO of Family Dollar, the number meant a lot more Thursday morning, Oct. 10, as he cut the ribbon on his company’s 8,000th store. 

Addressing a crowd of almost 200 shoppers waiting anxiously outside the store, located at 1513 Charlotte Highway (U.S. 521), Levine commented on his company’s longevity within Lancaster County. 

“We’ve been in Lancaster since 1967. I wasn’t born yet, though,” Levine said with a laugh. “Store (No.) 31 (Airport Crossroads) goes back a few years. What a difference from what we did back in 1967 to 2013. I think this whole crowd deserves an applause.”

As the packed crowd cheered, Levine told them what to expect inside.

“What you’ll see in the store is great brands, a fantastic assortment and great prices,” he said. 

Proclaiming that the employees are “just like you, everyday folks,” Levine asked shoppers to provide them input.

“Let us know if we disappoint you or let you down and also give us a compliment too if you can,” he said. “We hope you love our new store.”

Levine followed by presenting an $8,000 donation to Kay Carter, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

“There are a lot of people less fortunate and one of the core values of Family Dollar is helping those in need, the underserved,” he said.

Carter accepted the check and said it would be put to good use in the community.

“I’m very, very excited to partner with Family Dollar. These people are the real deal and one of the most generous families I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” Carter said. “This $8,000 will be used for mobile pantries in your community. It is not going back to Charlotte. It’s staying right here.”

Also on hand for the grand opening were Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw, County Councilwoman Charlene McGriff and S.C. Sen. Greg Gregory, (R-16).

Shaw marveled at the company’s dedication to the county.

“Family Dollar is still here and you continue to grow and you provide good service,” Shaw said. “Thank you for choosing Lancaster and as you grow I hope we can be a part of it.”

McGriff closed out the ceremony by presenting Levine with a proclamation declaring Oct. 10 as “Family Dollar Day.”

So excited 

Listening nearby, and waiting in a long line that snaked from the front of the store through the parking lot, was Lancaster resident Diane Wilmore. 

With cash in hand, she arrived early to snag a spot in line and enjoy some grand opening deals.

“I’ve always liked Family Dollar stores. They have good quality items. I come for the household goods. They have stuff to decorate your home and they have food,” Wilmore said with a smile. “I’m excited because I can leave work and come around the corner and shop.”

Proximity to his home was also a draw for Lancaster native Dwayne Bufford, who was 20th in line.

“It’s right across the street from my home,” Bufford said, minutes before heading into the store. “They’ve got paper plates, forks, all kinds of stuff I like.”

Once the doors were officially open, Sherry Hinson of Lancaster darted toward the beauty supply section and excitedly dropped some items in her basket. 

“I’m glad we got a new one because I was sad they closed the one by Bi-Lo,” Hinson said. “Now I don’t have to go all the way to Waxhaw to find a Family Dollar. Plus, they have lots of good prices here.”

Pushing her shopping cart through the crowded aisles, and dodging a legion of shoppers grasping Family Dollar circulars, Doris Truesdale finally found what she was after. 

“This here is my favorite part, the air fresheners and cleaning supplies,” Truesdale said, as she peered at the shelves full of tile cleaners and kitchen sprays. “And now, I don’t have to go all the way across town to find it.”

Though Phillip Deaton was on the hunt for Hot Wheels for his two boys, 7- and 10-years-old, he said the experience was bringing him back to his own childhood. 

“I remember when I was a kid, I used to raise rabbits and sell them at Easter time. Well, I remember my dad talked to the manager of Family Dollar at the (Airport) crossroads and he let me sell those rabbits at the store,” Deaton said. “And I’m still coming back and shopping now. 

“They’ve always got great prices,” he said.

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416