Make us your home page

Bid to keep Family Dollar out of Tampa's Seminole Heights fails

TAMPA — Two Seminole Heights business owners have made a failed bid to buy out a nearby building where a Family Dollar store is slated to open.

The unique proposal was the latest move in a growing neighborhood protest against the national discount chain's plans to open a store at 5100 N Florida Ave.

More than 770 people have opposed the store on a Facebook page. The movement also has attracted local TV news coverage, including during a late-night rally Thursday that included protesters waving "No Family Dollar" signs.

Business leaders in Seminole Heights, Tampa's first neighborhood, say the area has been redeveloping over the past two decades with an emphasis on historic preservation and locally owned businesses.

They started the campaign late last month after a Family Dollar developer bought a white warehouse building that is sandwiched on a strip among three locally owned restaurants, a bakery, a salon and boutiques.

Opponents claim the store does not fit because its corporation sends profits out of the community to its North Carolina headquarters, pays employees low wages and would become the sixth Family Dollar store within 3 miles of the planned location.

This week, owners of the Refinery restaurant and the Independent pub reported that their offer to buy the property from Family Dollar was rejected by Hunt Real Estate of Tampa, which represents the chain store.

They noted that they offered to buy the property for more than what Family Dollar had paid and even offered to pay for any development or permitting costs the chain has spent to date.

"We were absolutely serious," Independent owner Veronica Vellines said Friday. "We met with the developer and we said, 'Would you consider other tenants or would you consider selling the property to us or anyone else who approached you.?' "

Vellines said no numbers were discussed, but developers took about five days to consider the offer.

The rejection of the offer was also posted on the "No Family Dollar" Facebook page and signed by Michelle Baker, a co-owner of the Refinery and a Seminole Heights resident.

"We gave them a deal that would be foolish to refuse," the post said. "The war is not over. It has just begun. Call city council, call the mayor's office. Call everyone you think may listen and continue to call. More 'No Family Dollar' signs are now available at The Independent, Sherry's Yesterdaze, Micro Groove, and Velo Champ. Walk next door and tell your neighbors. Direct them to this page and to the website. The louder our voice is, the better."

Chris Salemi, a partner at Hunt Real Estate, declined to comment. Josh Braverman, a Family Dollar spokesman, said he was unaware of the offer. He said Family Dollar plans to work with residents and business owners to appease their concerns and refute perceptions about the store.

"It's unfortunate that the folks out there might have a misconception about Family Dollar and who we are and what we do," he said. "We're really doing a lot of work to update our brand, refresh our brand, and I'd love for the folks out there in Seminole Heights to let us show them what we can do."

Justin George can be reached at or (813) 226-3368.

Bid to keep Family Dollar out of Tampa's Seminole Heights fails 08/10/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain


    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]