Building owner Jim Shane said the laundry and dry cleaner at the site may be combined and moved to a different location.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A Tennessee-based chain that claims to be the "nation's largest small-box discount retailer" has signed a lease to become the newest retail operation in the Village Beautiful.
Dollar General has signed a 10-year lease with Mainwill Associates LLC to put a store at 384 Main St., subject to permitting, Mainwill owner Jim Shane confirmed on Friday afternoon.
In a telephone call from his Boston office, Shane said the exisiting Subway restaurant will remain at the site, but the rest of the building plus a small addition will compose the latest Dollar General to open in the area.
The retailer opened a store in Adams last September and in Pownal, Vt., in September 2011. According to news reports, the retailer also is eyeing a location in Hoosick, N.Y.
"[384 Main St.] was approved for a Dollar General in 2007, but Dollar General decided they weren't ready," Shane said. "It was acquired originally for Dollar General, but then Dollar General decided not to come into the territory. That's when we decided to split into multiple stores."
Much of the building is currently vacant. In addition to the Subway, Shane operates a laundry, and Jeff Kurpaska operates a dry cleaner operation on the site. Shane said he and Kurpaska are discussing combining the laundry and dry cleaner and relocating to an undisclosed location in Williamstown.
Shane said he previously developed Dollar General franchises in two Vermont towns, Springfield and Fair Haven. The retailer is making a major push in New England.
"It's my understanding they're now coming down through Western Mass and into New Hampshire," Shane said. "They have a distribution center in Albany. They're probably looking to that facility to serve all those locations."
According to Dollar General's website, it has 10,000 stores in 40 states. It traces its roots to a wholesale store that opened in Kentucky in 1939. The first actual Dollar General was christened in 1955. Today, the chain specializes in "popular brands at low everyday prices."
Before it moves into the Williamstown location, Mainwill must secure approval from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Commission for modifications to the site.
Town Conservation Agent Andrew Groff said Friday morning that the Con Comm needs to approve an expansion to building's rear parking area, which abuts wetlands. The commission has made a site visit and discussed the project at a public meeting, but is waiting on comments from the commonwealth's Natural Heritage and Engdangered Species Program, Groff said.
Although the planned tenant does not alter the use of the site, the zoning board will look at some changes to the property, including a grade change, parking lot surfacing, lighting and landscaping, Groff said.
The ZBA was scheduled to take up the application at its March 21 meeting, but it failed to have a quorum. Its next scheduled meeting is April 18.
Shane said Friday that once the parking lot is expanded, the site will have spots for 48 cars, more than enough space needed for a Dollar General location.
A proposed 1,350-square-foot addition behind the current building will accommodate a storeroom for the retailer, Shane said. The total square footage after the addition, 8,800 square feet, is typical for a Dollar General, he said.
"We already received permitting for a small curb cut change from the Department of Transportation, and the Army Corps of Engineers has approved [the plan] as well," Shane said.
If the permitting is approved, Shane said he anticipates the store could open in the fall after renovations are made over the summer.
"My intent is to use local contractors and tradesmen," Shane said. "We want to bring some jobs and commerce to Williamstown as well as do something with a building that's been half empty for five or six years."
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