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Prime downtown Ruskin location slated for retail use

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Family Dollar may be coming to former Coffee Cup location.

By MELODY JAMESON

RUSKIN – A new retailer soon may be doing business on one of this community’s most desirable commercial corners that once was a site of legendary proportions.

Family Dollar Stores, based in Charlotte, N.C., acting through its long-time representative, The Hutton Company, Chattanooga, TN, has agreed to purchase of the southeast corner at the Shell Point Road and U.S. 41 intersection, according to the Tampa Realtor who assisted in the transaction.

The location is the former venue of The Coffee Cup, an informal, café-style eatery famous for its variety of homemade pies served in large slices to diners coming from around the country as well as from around the county. The aging white, frame structure that housed the historic restaurant and market of 70-years’ duration was opened by the late Paul B. Dickman in the late 1920s and demolished in the late 1990s. The site has been essentially vacant since that time.

The Family Dollar acquisition involves a little less than two acres of the 2.5 –acre site at a price of $475,000, said Ed Dickenson, a Realtor with Walter Dickenson of Tampa Bay. A small “off corner” parcel is not included in the acquisition agreement, Dickenson added.

The retailer is expected to operate one of its standard 8,000-square-foot outlets on the site, the Realtor indicated. He said he did not know when ground would be broken and did not have a date for opening the new store, adding he did not deal directly with corporate headquarters in Charlotte but rather with the representative Hutton Company.

Chattanooga-based Hutton is a multi-faceted real estate, construction and development firm, according to its website, and has provided services to Family Dollar for several years. It lists five new Family Dollar outlets in various phases of development in Florida, among 30-plus new stores for the retailer expected to open during coming months in eastern, mid-western and southern states. Hutton provides similar services to several other clients doing business in retail.

Family Dollar describes itself as a “neighborhood family discount store” offering health and beauty products, household goods and clothing. Founded in 1959 in Charlotte by a 21-year-old entrepreneur, the store chain has grown in 52 years to include 6,800 units and nine distribution centers built in 45 states from Maine to Arizona, its website notes. The company employs some 40,000 individuals.

Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Family Dollar reported what it called “record earnings” for the first quarter of the company’s 2012 fiscal year. Reported net sales of $2.148 billion for the quarter reflected more than a seven percent increase over the same period in fiscal 2011, the corporation said. It is reporting annual revenues in excess of $7 billion.

The purchase arrangement with the owners, members of the Dickman family and descendants of the community’s founders more than 100 years ago, followed initial negotiations with the Redlands Christian Migrant Association for part of its parcel a short distance further south on U.S. 41. That deal, involving perhaps another $200,000 and relocation to the rear of the property of an existing house with historic significance to the community, did not materialize.

Neither Family Dollar in Charlotte nor the Hutton Company in Chattanooga responded to inquiries early this week from The Observer.

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson

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