EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Family Dollar will build a $700,000 store on the site of the former Hamlet building and will employ six to eight workers when the store opens in about six months, store and town officials said Monday.
Construction of the 8,320-square-foot storefront will begin just as soon as construction workers have word that the snow is gone, said Doug Murray, northeast construction director of Hunt Real Estate Services.
Hunt is contracted by Family Dollar to find and develop sites. Benchmark Construction of Westbrook will build the building, Murray said.
“We hope to start almost immediately,” Murray said Monday, “just as soon as they can get up there.”
Michael Noble, East Millinocket’s part-time code enforcement officer, issued a building permit for the project about three weeks ago, Noble said.
Town Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. Clint Linscott, a selectman who owns the property and several others around town, declined to comment on the development, citing a confidentiality agreement he had signed.
The news contrasts sharply with a Family Dollar Stores, Inc. announcement earlier this month that the more than 8,000-store chain is slashing prices to win shoppers, cutting jobs, and shutting 370 stores to reverse declining sales and profits.
Family Dollar, which caters to lower-income shoppers, reported sales at stores open at least a year fell 3.8 percent in the quarter ended March 1. It expects sales to decline this quarter, too.
Town Administrative Assistant Shirley Tapley did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Clint Linscott, a selectman who owns the property and several others around town, declined to comment on the development, citing a confidentiality agreement he had signed.
Linscott’s workers finished gutting the site at 117 Main St. about a month ago. In late February, the auto mechanic and body repairman, who owns Linscott’s Auto Body shop at 68 Main St., said that the layoffs and temporary shutdown at the new Great Northern Paper Co. LLC mill forced him to make a decision — to raze the football-sized building — that he had struggled with for a few years.
The recent closure of Soup to Nuts restaurant, which had been located at 117 Main St. since 2009, also hurt, he said. The Hamlet had been a motel from the 1960s to 1990s that had more recently been the site of several retail outlets, including a bookstore, greenhouse outlet, photography studio, bar and restaurant.
The Family Dollar store will open about 24 weeks after construction begins, Murray said. Construction should take about 20 weeks.
A Family Dollar store has been in Lincoln on West Broadway for almost 10 years. According to its website, familydollar.com, the chain includes more than 8,000 stores from Maine to California. The chain celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.
Information from Reuters is included in this report.