A new Dollar General store is under construction at 26485 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs.
About a mile away from the new Dollar General store is one of the two planned new Family Dollar stores in Bonita Springs — at 26875 Old 41 Road. Another Family Dollar retail outlet is proposed at Furlong Street off Bonita Beach Road and a third is at the corner of Alico and Aloha roads in the San Carlos Park area.
BONITA SPRINGS — Discount dollar stores are bucking the trend of a struggling economy because they're popping up all across Southwest Florida.
A new Dollar General store is under construction at 26485 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs, adjacent to Hawthorne, a gated community. It's one of four dollar stores proposed to be built in Southwest Florida.
The 9,100-square-foot Dollar General in Bonita Springs is slated for completion in late January 2013, according to Pete Haigis, a city building official.
The retail store submitted its development application on June 7.
"Our first priority in determining new store locations is how we can best meet our customers' needs by providing customers an easy and convenient shopping choice," said Crystal Ghassemi, a spokeswoman for Dollar General Corp. "We also take demographic trends, traffic patterns and competitive factors into consideration."
Dollar General stores typically employ six to 10 people, depending on the need.
The discount chain's competitor, Family Dollar, is working on plans for the first of two new stores in Bonita Springs.
About a mile away from the new Dollar General store is one of the two planned new Family Dollar stores in Bonita Springs — at 26875 Old 41 Road. Another Family Dollar retail outlet is proposed at Furlong Street off Bonita Beach Road and a third is at the corner of Alico and Lee and Aloha roads in the San Carlos Park area.
Currently, there is a Dollar Tree at the Bonita Bay Plaza along U.S. 41 at West Terry Street in Bonita Springs. There also is a Dollar General in the Sunshine Plaza along Bonita Beach Road near Arroyal Road in Bonita Springs.
Florida Gulf Coast University economist Gary Jackson said dollar stores are providing convenience for shoppers looking for discount items during hard economic times.
But, Jackson said, the challenge for stores will be maintaining their customers as the economic recovery continues. He noted the companies are broadening their product lines in hopes of keeping their customers.
"Their success will be based on maintaining their customer base as the economy improves," he said.
Moreover, Jackson said, the stores are competing with location, convenience and prices.
A development order application to build the 8,208-square-foot Family Dollar store along Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs, submitted in early August, is pending approval. Community development staff is awaiting revised documents from the company for review, with utility lines and access points for traffic among the issues not yet resolved.
Less than a quarter mile away, there's a mom-and-pop dollar store along Old 41 Road.
Another proposed 8,000-square-foot Family Dollar retail store at 10811 Furlong St. has been approved in Bonita Springs.
John Dulmer, director of the city's community development department, said the request will be valid for six years.
The retailer submitted its development application on Nov. 21, 2011. The construction date is yet to be determined, according to city officials.
The 8,000-square-foot variety store at 8540 Alico Road is awaiting occupancy approvals from Lee County government, according to the Lee Community Development website. The application was submitted in early January.
Family Dollar officials said they aren't ready to release any information about the stores yet.
On average, Family Dollar stores employ eight to 10 people.
"At Family Dollar, our goal is to open stores in neighborhoods and communities that are in proximity to where our customers live and work," said Bryn Winburn, a spokeswoman for Family Dollar. "We utilized sophisticated modeling software to determine that Bonita Springs was an appealing site for Family Dollar, and we are excited about both of these neighborhood stores as we know our customers will benefit from the value and convenience we provide."
Family Dollar is a discount retailer that carries national name brands and quality private brands.
Winburn said Family Dollar works with the leading domestic manufacturers to offer the store's products at prices that are typically below supermarkets, drug stores or convenience stores.
"What sets Dollar General apart from our competitors is the fact we offer the convenience of a drug store combined with low prices of a supercenter," Ghassemi said. "Our customers trust us for the brand and products they use every day and our convenient locations are built in communities and neighborhoods so customers do not have to travel far to shop.
"Further, while we are aware of our competitors, our focus remains on serving our customers and providing them with great value."