TAMPA - A Tampa street best known for used car lots and one-way traffic has been undergoing a renaissance of late.
Newly opened restaurants, antique stores and record shops along Florida Avenue have created a distinctive neighborhood that attracts a younger, creative clientele.
A Family Dollar store right in the middle of this revitalization is not what the neighbors had in mind.
The cardboard signs saying 'NO' to a planned Family Dollar store at 5100 North Florida Avenue are in front of many homes and most businesses in this part of historic Seminole Heights. Cappy's Pizza, Microgroove Records and the aptly named Independent bar and restaurant are united in their opposition to the discount retailer that recently bought a boxy white building at 5100 North Florida Avenue.
Resident Amy Anderson speaks for many when she says enough is enough.
"There are already two Family Dollar stores within a mile of this location. So why do they need to do more?" asked Anderson
A Google search shows more than a dozen Family Dollar stores and Dollar General stores within a few square miles. Family Dollar spokesman Josh Braverman says 400 to 500 more stores will open this year nationwide.
"Our strategy is to look at areas where we have the most opportunity for infill," said Braverman.
The Facebook page, 'No Family Dollar Seminole Heights' has more than 700 "likes." And though the City of Tampa has indicated the building is properly zoned for a Dollar Store, a website-driven petition has gathered 450 signatures.
Record store owner Keith Ulrey says a big box national chain is just not a good fit.
"An art space, retail establish, t-shirt screening, anything, something that's more in the vibe and esthetic of the neighborhood and what we're trying to establish from here on down to the corner," said Ulrey.
Not everyone has joined the opposition. Long-time resident and auto repair shop owner, Reuben Jimes thinks a dollar store would be convenient for him and good for his business.
"It's good. It's good for the neighborhood. Maybe they could see my sign over here and bring some business in," said Jimes.
But most in the neighborhood seem to want something else. The proposed store will employ only eight to ten people at nearly minimum wage, and they don't win many beautification awards.
A nearby Family Dollar store at Columbus and Tampa Street was new just six years ago and now has peeling paint, litter and a pothole-filled parking lot.
"We're looking at making those changes more quickly in that area because frankly that store is not up to our current standards," said spokesman Josh Braverman.
The site of the proposed store is currently owned and occupied by a local filter supply company. They sold the building and plan to relocate. They could not be reached for comment as of Thursday.
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