WILLIAMSTOWN -- There is good news for residents who dislike needing to drive mile after mile to a store where they can buy an iron as well as party and school supplies. Dollar General is coming to 384 Main St.
A discount retail store, Dollar General offers popular name brands, generic merchandise and their own brand (DG).
Shoppers will find a wide variety of products available in the store, including toys, home decor, packaged foods, small appliances and stationery. Prices range from $1 to $60.
Dollar General was founded by Cal Turner, together with his father J.L. Turner in 1939 as a wholesale store in Kentucky. Now, Dollar General is a chain of retail stores numbering 10,000 in 40 states, according to information on their web site.
"Dollar General has signed a 10-year lease for the 384 Main St. location, subject to permitting," James H. Shane, owner of Mainwill Associations LLC, said from his office in Boston. "We are in the process of meeting with boards in town. Conservation Commission approval of minimal expansion within 100 feet bordering a vegetated wetland is pending. The Army Corps of Engineers have already approved."
According to news reports, the Conservation Commission has examined the site and discussed the proposed project at a public meeting. Now they are waiting for comments from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
Mainwill needs to obtain approval before constructing a 1,350-square-foot addition to the back of the building. "The addition will serve as a warehouse," Shane said, emphasizing that the warehouse will be used to store merchandise only for that particular Dollar General.
The number of parking spaces at the site will be increased by five or six, bringing the total number of spaces to 43, which conforms to zoning requirements, said Shane, "and will be enough for a Dollar General store."
Before making modifications to the site, Mainwill must also secure approval from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. "We were to have a hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals (on March 21) but it was canceled as there were not enough members present to form a quorum."
According to Andrew Hoar, chairman of the ZBA, the next meeting will be held on April 18. "At which time," said Shane, "we hope we will be able to get approval from the board."
"We originally acquired 384 Main St. for Dollar General, and in 2007 the space was approved for a Dollar General store," Shane said. "But then Dollar General decided not to come to the area at that time. That is why I split the space into four stores."
Now Subway, Royal Cleaners and a laundromat occupy three of the stores, with the fourth store empty.
"Subway will remain," Shane said. The other spaces will be transformed to suit Dollar General’s needs. "I own the Laundromat and Jack Kurpaska of the Berkshires owns the dry cleaners," he said. "We are talking about combining our stores and opening somewhere else locally."
The Dollar General store on Main Street will be 8,800 square feet, including the proposed addition. Dollar General stores range from 8,000 to 10,000 square feet, Shane said. According to Paul Harsch, the building’s property manager and leasing agent, 3,000 square feet in the building are vacant.
A Dollar General opened in Adams in September 2012, and there is one in Pownal, Vt. "They are coming to Western Massachusetts and heading over to the New Hampshire District," Shane said.
Construction of the small addition to the back of the building will likely begin this summer," he said. "We will use local contractors and tradesmen to bring jobs and commerce to Williamstown. If everything goes very well, the Dollar General will open in the fall."
Alex Elvin contributed to this report.