Shoppers favor dollar stores

8 years ago
By Jen Lynds
Staff Writer

HOULTON — Nikki Mason of Houlton admitted Friday that she doesn’t always need to visit the new Dollar Tree that recently opened at 137 North Street. But at least two or three times a week, she finds herself pushing a cart down the aisles, obsessed with finding items she needs and sometimes items that she doesn’t, for just $1.

“Before this new store opened, I shopped at the Family Dollar [at 310 North Street] twice a week and I thought that was bad. I swear, if the prices were any higher I’d have to go to rehab or something.”

Tony Bulley, a former Houlton resident who now lives in Bangor, can understand the desire. He said Friday that he visits two Dollar Tree stores in Bangor and one Family Dollar store, scouring the store shelves for office and party supplies and “lots of candy.”

“I think everyone knows you can find good deals there,’ he said. “They have brand name products there that are much cheaper than you can find at some other stores.”

Shoppers in southern Aroostook and other parts of Maine are not the only clients who have noticed.

Both the Dollar Tree and the Dollar General recently reported earnings that showed higher sales and profits, according to a report in The Motley Fool.

The stores have gained sales ground, according to the report, by targeting similar consumer demographics as Wal-Mart — low- to middle-income shoppers. Dollar stores, however, tend to be located in more urban areas than Wal-Mart stores, allowing them to provide consumers with the convenience that Wal-Mart cannot.

Jason Carmichael of Houlton said Friday that he has been a longtime fan of stores such as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar.

“Before they built the two stores in Houlton, I used to drive up to the Dollar Tree at The Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle,” he said. “The best thing about them is that each individual store has different products to offer to you, so that you are not walking out with the same goods when you go in each one. I love that you can go to Wal-Mart and see something there for $4 or $5 and you go to Dollar Tree and it is a dollar. You save a lot of money.”