by nathan oster
Greybull would lose one of its restaurants but gain a Family Dollar store if a proposed real estate transaction is completed in the coming weeks.
Dean and Sheila Waddell, owners of Side Kick Pizza and Subs on North Sixth Street, have announced plans to close their business on Friday, March 15.
On a sign hanging in their front door, and in an advertisement appearing in this issue, the Waddells offered thanks to the community for its support over the years.
Prior to opening at their current location in 2004, the Waddells dispensed coffee out of a drive-through building in the Ron’s Food Farm parking lot.
Over the years they have developed a strong, loyal customer base.
“I’ve loved all the different people who have come in and talking with them,” said Sheila Waddell, emphasizing that it won’t be easy to walk away from the business which has been such a big part of their lives.
But she said the job has required a lot of her time — 10 hour days, six days a week — and that she’s looking forward to taking a couple of months off before she starts to look for another job.
“Plus I’ve got a new grandbaby coming, too,” she said, proudly.
The Waddells were in a position where they had little choice.
They didn’t own the building. Instead, they leased it — first from Kip and Cindy McIntosh, and then from Michael and Wendy Lannon, who acquired it from the McIntoshes last December.
In an interview Monday, Wendy Lannon said she and her husband, who own the Greybull Motel next door, purchased the property with idea of putting cabins and rentals adjacent to and behind the Side Kick building.
Not long after that, however, they were approached by Dave Murdock, who is a build-to-suit developer for the Family Dollar store franchise.
Murdoch eventually came to terms with the Lannons — then with the Waddells, who had some time remaining on their lease.
Reached on Tuesday afternoon, Murdock confirmed that he has the property under contract. He is buying the part of the lot that fronts Sixth Street and extends 185 feet to the rear.
The Lannons retained ownership of the property directly behind that. “We haven’t eliminated the possibility of doing cabins on the back of the property,” she said Tuesday. “We’re just going to wait and see how it’s all going to look.”
Murdock described himself as “an independent contractor” who initially identifies potential sites for Family Dollar stores. After he provides the information, the corporate folks at Family Dollar decide which site they prefer. He then purchases the property and puts up a building that will work for Family Dollar.
He has used the same approach to develop the Family Dollar stores in Thermopolis and Lovell, as well as those in Dubois and Pinedale that will be opening soon. Another one, in Kemmerer, is holding a grand opening this week.
For this search, Murdock looked at properties in both Basin and Greybull. Ultimately, Family Dollar directed him to proceed with the purchase of the site in Greybull.
“They have a due diligence process that they use to decide what communities they want to go into,” he said. “It’s an expensive process, too. You know, though, that they aren’t going to go into a community unless they are confident there’s a demand for their store.”
Murdock said he hopes to close on the real estate transaction around the 15th of April, and that once he obtains the permits he needs, he can usually have a building up and ready to go within 120 days.
“I’m hoping that by the end of October, we will have the building opened up and operating,” he said.
Two of the buildings on site, including the primary one which houses Side Kick Pizza and Subs, would need to be demolished to make way for the new Family Dollar building.
Murdock said the Family Dollar store he envisions would be about 8,320 square feet — which would be considerably smaller than two of its rival stores in the community, Ron’s Food Farm (15,000 square feet) and the Shopko store (approximately 20,000 square feet).
About Family Dollar
According to its website (familydollar.com), the chain already has several locations in the Big Horn Basin, including Cody, Powell, Lovell, Worland and Thermopolis.
Founded in 1959 in Charlotte, N.C., Family Dollar offers customers “a mix of quality name brand products they use every day, from consumable products such as household paper products and expanded food assortment to treasures for every home and even quality apparel for men, women and children. We also offer a mix of seasonal products, greeting cards, gift wrap and more.”
The company identifies as its “core customer” a “female head of household in her mid 50s making less than $40,000 per year.”
According to its website, Family Dollar has 7,600 stores in 45 states and 50,000 employees.
Murdock said that when it’s finished, the Greybull store would likely require a workforce of between 10 and 12 people.