By Steve Keenan
The town threw open its arms for a new business Saturday morning.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was staged for the new Dollar General store, which occupies space long-held by one of Ansted’s trademark businesses, Deligne Sales and Service.
“Our folks can now find the fundamentals of life in town again,” said Mayor Pete Hobbs, referencing a fire which gutted the nearby Sam’s Market several months ago and took away the most local shopping option.
Dollar General, he said, has made an effort to stock “a pretty broad array of food products.”
“The citizens are the real winners,” Hobbs continued. “They no longer have to spend $4, $5, $6 on gas” to drive elsewhere to shop for many of the staples. He also stressed the positive aspect of jobs provided to the local area.
“It’s very good business for the town,” said store manager Beverly Nottingham, an Ansted resident. “The store was definitely needed.
“Ansted is very excited.”
The store will have eight employees and will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
“It’s been very exciting,” said Chuck Webber, Dollar General district manager. “The people have been very receptive to us.”
Dollar General, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., opened its 10,000th store in Merced, Calif. earlier this year. The company has stores in 40 states.
Hobbs feels Ansted is taking some positive steps.
“Hopefully this will start a new trend of investment,” he said.
Among the other recent strides in town, Hobbs pointed out, are the construction of six private single-family dwellings that “speaks to the investment that is occurring here,” he noted.
A five-unit apartment development was also completed early last year. “What is important is that we have a fair amount of new investment of modern accommodations.”
In addition, the Ansted Baptist Church spent nearly $500,000 on an addition which includes a gymnasium and a modern kitchen in support of its youth ministry.
Finally, a neighborhood stabilization program administered by CAEZ (Central Appalachian Empowerment Zone) Director Connie Lupardus is using about $500,000 in stimulus funds to allow local municipalities to address blighted structures and other situations in the wake of the mortgage crisis, and Ansted is participating in that program.
“(Including Dollar General, the church, and new homes and apartments) The aggregate of investment is pretty substantial. I feel pretty good about the future,” Hobbs said.
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