Discount store to fill large void in Dubuque shopping center

A discount chain will fill a sizable vacancy in one of Dubuque’s busiest shopping centers this fall.

A Family Dollar location aims to open in Plaza 20, 2600 Dodge St., in early September. It will occupy the former home of Save-A-Lot, a grocery store that closed its doors in the spring of 2017.

Sara Kahle Hutchinson, vice president of Plaza 20, believes the business will fit perfectly with its surroundings.

“This will bring in a strong national retailer and fill a void in our mix of offerings,” Hutchinson said. “This is something customers and other tenants have been asking for. We haven’t had a place to get essentials and food items since Save-A-Lot left.”

Family Dollar will move into a space that spans roughly 15,000 square feet and has remained empty since Save-A-Lot closed.

During that time, Plaza 20 has received interest from a number of prospective tenants.

“We had a few that wanted to divide up the space,” Hutchinson recalled. “But we wanted to hold out and wait for the right tenant.”

Hutchinson said construction at the future Family Dollar site commenced in late July. A building permit issued by the city of Dubuque indicates that interior renovations to the facility will cost $156,000.

The arrival of Family Dollar will mark another positive development in a shopping center that seemingly faced a major uphill battle after Kmart closed its Plaza 20 location about four years ago.

Slumberland opened in late March, filling the remainder of the vast space in Plaza 20 that was once filled by the departed retail chain. A Veterans Affairs Clinic and Joann fabric store — each of which opened in 2019 — collectively filled the rest of the space in the former Kmart.

Family Dollar stores are owned by Fortune 200 company Dollar Tree, which also operates stores under the Dollar Tree moniker. As of May 1, the company operated 15,772 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces.

In an email to the Telegraph Herald, Dollar Tree Investor and Media Relations Manager Kayleigh Painter said plans call for a Sept. 9 opening in Plaza 20.

She said the store will sell frozen and refrigerated food, pantry goods, household and cleaning supplies, pet food, basic apparel, baby and toddler necessities, electronics, home décor, holiday gifts and other items.

She noted that Family Dollar stores typically employ six to 10 associates.

In recent years, the company has been expanding its local presence.

Dollar Tree opened a 13,400-square-foot location at 2585 Northwest Arterial in October 2019. Other Dollar Tree stores in Dubuque are located at 2050 John F. Kennedy Road and 220 S. Locust St, while an existing Family Dollar operates at 2013 Central Ave.

Despite having the word “dollar” in its name, not everything sold in a Family Dollar store costs $1 or less. However, Painter noted in her correspondence that the store will offer “thousands of $1 items.”