Wimauma may get new retail store in near future

Published on: June 28, 2012

This Wimauma corner, in the center of the community, may become the site of a new Dollar General Store. Melody Jameson Photo

This Wimauma corner, in the center of the community, may become the site of a new Dollar General Store. Melody Jameson Photo


WIMAUMA — In keeping with this community’s long term plan, a national retail outlet is on the horizon in the downtown district here.

Construction of a Dollar General Store on S.R. 674 at 7th Street now is pending rezoning of the site, according to Hillsborough County records.

Hillsborough’s Board of County Commissioners will be asked in late July to approve waiver of certain locational criteria in order to situate the store on the front portion of the site.

The petition to designate for a planned development (PD) slightly less than two acres of the proposed site on the southwest corner of the intersection was initiated in April by Dennis Carlton and Lee Pallardy as trustees for the owners of record, members of the Carlton family, county records show.

Records also suggest an existing contract for sale of the rezoned site to a St. Petersburg firm, RKM Development Corp., with the ultimate goal being construction of a new 9,100-square-foot retail facility on it. The store would be among the first proposed along Wimauma’s primary business artery since its community plan envisioning just such development was hammered out several years ago.

Dollar General (DG), now headquartered in Goodlettsville, TN, posted $14.8 billion in revenues for fiscal year 2011 and close to $767 million in net income at the same time. Its network consists of 10,000 stores in 40 states, most of them in the eastern U.S., across the southern states and in the southwest. The company also operates at least a half dozen major distribution centers in various parts of the country and employs about 90,000 workers.

The corporate history states the DG chain of today grew from a single store opened in 1939 in Scottsville, TN, by J.L. and Cal Turner. Sixteen years later in 1955, Turner’s Department Store was converted to Dollar General, promoting that it carried no item costing more than $1. Another 13 years and the store chain became a publicly-traded entity.

Rapid growth occurred during the mid-1980s when a 280-store chain was folded into the DG corporation and again two years later when another 206-store network was added. By the mid-1990s, the company was reporting $2 billion in annual sales and $100 million in net income.

In 2007, after the 5000-store DG chain reported $5 billion in sales, the company was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, a highly active holding company which has bought and sold numerous corporations engaged in a wide range of business areas. KKR took DG private that same year.

The chain once again was listed in the U.S. stock market and publicly traded in 2009. The 10,000th DG store was opened in California earlier this year, its website says.

Now in its eighth decade, the corporate behemoth that traces its beginnings to a single Turner store in Tennessee describes itself as “the nation’s largest small box retailer” and sometimes is characterized as favoring “small towns that are off the radar of most discounters.”

DG stores stock their shelves with household goods, health and beauty items, as well as some apparel and food, with about 25 percent of it priced at $1 or less. Aiming for stock that customers use every day, the chain endeavors to “keep it real and keep it simple,” it says. Its average customer completes a shopping trip to a DG store in less than 10 minutes, the chain management estimates.

Part of the DG mission, its website asserts, is striving for “a real and lasting impact on individuals and their families” in the communities where it locates stores. The company launched its “GED/Learn to Read” program in 1983 and the DG Literacy Foundation was established in 1993.

Site plans call for situating the single-story retail outlet in the front 220-foot-deep section, facing S.R. 674, with vehicle and bicycle parking on the sides and at the rear of the store. Sidewalk parallel with the roadway is included.

The rezoning petition emphasizes that the prospective store is consistent in function and appearance with the “vision and intent of the Wimauma Village Community Plan,” noting that the plan specifically allows waiver of locational criteria for commercial uses serving a Wimauma Village neighborhood.

No reviewing agency has raised objections to the proposed PD rezoning and pending development.

The Dollar General proposal is the second of the type to surface in the South County in recent months. A Family Dollar Store proposed for the vacant southeast corner of the Shell Point Road and U.S. 41 intersection in Ruskin was reported earlier this year by the Realtor handling the land sales transaction.

The land use hearing regarding the Wimauma project is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 23, in County Center, Tampa.

Copyright 2012 Melody Jameson