The silence, as they say, has been deafening. Two weeks ago this newspaper published a front-page story on the possibility of a Family Dollar store rising from the bucolic landscape that is Rappahannock’s, and yet . . .
No outraged letters to the editor. No local citizens stopping by our office or calling on the phone to wonder how to protest. No elected officials organizing opposition.
It’s particularly puzzling given the past concern and articulate agitation generated by everything from cell towers and athletic field lights to, most recently, affordable housing in the county seat, e.g. “We didn’t move all the way out here so that we would have to look at an eyesore of a Family Dollar store!”
Perhaps behind the scenes, as what happened with the affordable housing controversy in Washington, a group of local investors is making a competing offer on the Family Dollar site next to the bank on U.S. 211? If so, they could then franchise the site to a similar store, like Dollar Tree, but “retain local control?”
Whatever retail establishment (if any) occupies the commercially zoned site might indeed be welcome if it would mean less driving out of the county to obtain basic necessities, from medicine to food staples.
In an ideal world, that would mean a pharmacy together with a well-stocked grocery (including a showcase for local foods).
Instead, what a Family Dollar store’s inventory will feature are lots of unhelpful and unhealthy potato chips, soft drinks, beauty aids and poorly made tchotchkes from China.
And you can bet that the architecture of the newly built retail store won’t be said to be Virginia Piedmont vernacular (reflecting indigenous building materials and local traditions). And in that respect, the new store might fit right in with the existing auto junkyard next to the bank, which no one seems to notice.
But aren’t the issues raised by a possible Family Dollar store worth at least some notice – and an ensuing conversation?