Store manager Toni Mhoon said the expansion will be made in the next 30 days and is based on neighborhood demographics.
“We’re the only retail store on the north side of town,” she said.
Josh Braverman, Family Dollar’s public relations manager, said the expansion will include major brands.
“We are looking to expand our food offering to really reflect what people are buying and we’ve partnered with great vendors like Kraft Foods,” he said. Name brands like Jiff peanut butter and Nabisco Oreos will be added, he said, along with a wider selection of salad dressings and other items in the dry food section, he said.
The store will not expand its refrigerated section, he said, but will add the new products to its shelves through May.
Family Dollar stores are in good shape, Braverman said, and second quarter earnings are up by 33 percent. Moreover, the company plans to open 200 new stores by August. The company already has 6,600 stores in 44 states, he said, and finished 2008 as the number one stock on the S&P 500.
Braverman said he could not confirm rumors that the company plans to open new stores in Eagle and Craig because lease agreements have not been signed.
Earlier this month, Reuters News Service reported that Family Dollar posted a profit of $84.1 million, or 60 cents a share, for its fiscal second quarter ending Feb. 28. During the same period last year, the company showed a profit of $63.3 million, or 45 cents per share.
The Reuters article stated that in March, Family Dollar said same-store sales rose 6.4 percent, “beating estimates for a 3.6 percent gain, as shoppers snapped consumable items like food.”
Discount stores such as Family Dollar, Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree have all been doing well in the economic downturn, according to Reuters.
But it’s more than the recession that’s keeping Family Dollar in the black, Braverman said, since the company has also done some belt-tightening.
“In this economic cycle, we had to take a look at expenses and opportunities to not necessarily cut, but to be more efficient,” he said. “We asked everyone to look at and be conscious of how we are spending money. We’ve made no direct cuts, but are working smarter and more efficiently.”
The company is relatively debt-free, Braverman said, and follows the advice of CEO Howard Levin to “manage your expenses and watch your inventory.”
“If we have a surplus and are marking down goods, that’s not a good place to be,” he said. “Looking ahead and being resourceful with expenses has really helped us.”
That philosophy also reassures employees that their jobs are secure, he said.
“They have a sense of job security, and we’re hiring, not laying people off,” he said. “We’re growing and I’m thankful and hopeful to work for such a great company.”
So is Mhoon, who said she knows her job is safe.
“If I’ve got a job today, I’ve got a job tomorrow,” she said.
This is also a banner year for Family Dollar because it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary, Braverman said.
The first store was opened by 21-year-old entrepreneur Leon Levin in November of 1959 in Charlotte, N.C., according to the company’s website, and current stores still follow the founders’ philosophy: “The customers are the boss, and you need to keep them happy.”