ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Members of the Cherokee Street Business Association held an emergency meeting Tuesday night, worried the proposed addition of a large Dollar General store in that area could hurt their quirky neighborhood of small family run businesses.
A developer is proposing building the store in the vacant building near Jefferson and Cherokee that used to be a Hood`s Discount Store.
There are already several dollar stores in the immediate area.
Many of the business association members are upset the $2 million project is moving forward without their input, and that their alderman has known about it for a month, but they learned about it only within the past week.
'This was a huge surprise to us, this is the biggest development that has been proposed within the CSBA boundaries in decades and we didn`t know anything about it until we heard about it essentially through the grapevine,' said Cara Spencer, a member of the business association.
Ninth Ward Alderman Ken Ortman says he meant no disrespect to the business association, but he says he had very little information and felt it was important to share the little bit he had first with the four neighborhood associations that come together right where the store would be built.
But the bigger complaint is that a large chain store could hurt the neighborhood`s come back as a place for small businesses.
'Another dollar store is just a chain, another corporation store on a street of individual businesses owners trying to make the best of themselves,' said Sean White, a fan of Cherokee Street.
Resident Tony Elliott, who lives across from the proposed store, feels the same way.
'I do not want to see another dollar store on my block,' Elliott said.
If you guys can get a furniture store or a hardware store, bring it on,' he said.
Alderman Ortman says he agrees the Dollar General store could hurt small businesses in the area, but because it is a real estate transaction between two private business owners, he can`t control who buys the building.