Discount stores dot west side

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent

While most of the attention in a recent wave of Clovis business expansion has gone to the development in the north part of town, a quieter pair of retail openings is changing the way some west-siders go about their shopping.

Since the Gibson’s Discount Store on 21st St. closed in the early 1980s, general retail stores have been nonexistent in Clovis west of Thornton Street.

But Dollar General, occupying part of the old Gibson’s building at 1210 W. 21st, opened for business in March and Family Dollar last week opened its third location in Clovis at 1424 W. 7th Street.

“I think it’s good,” said Teresa Ancira, a Farwell resident, who makes a weekly visit to her mother — a resident in Clovis’ west side. “You don’t have to go all the way to Hilltop or over to Prince, where there’s a lot of traffic — especially on the weekends.”

Both of the stores sell an assortment of grocery items, beauty supplies, clothes, kids toys, picture frames, candles, lamps and more.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Michelle Chadwick, while touring the Dollar General. “I sell life insurance, so I go all over town, and I know people over on this side of town are happy about it.”

While the Dollar General has a few items that can be priced up to $20 and Family Dollar has an outdoor gazebo listed at $25, most of the items at each store sell for $5 or less.
Employees at each of the Clovis outlets for the two chains say local neighborhood residents appreciate having a nearby location to do shopping on a limited basis.

“They always say they’re glad we’re here. They like that we’re close by,” said Dollar General employee Rhonda Copley. “Especially the older people that don’t like to walk around so much in a bigger store.

“We’ve had some good compliments on it and people are happy it’s on the west side,” said Luis Ulibarri, manager of Family Dollar’s W. 7th St. store. “It’s usually mostly been convenience stores on this side of town.”

The locations of the two stores aren’t merely threatening to change the shopping habits of west-side residents. For some who live in communities to the west, the opportunity to swoop into one of the stores — before getting into the retail heart of the city — has proven irresistible.

Ulibarri said that he’s already had customers from Fort Sumner, 60 miles away, come by his store as their first stop to a shopping day in Clovis.

Bonnie Johnson, who lived in Clovis for 54 years before relocating to Melrose in 2000, is well aware of the layout of her former home. On Memorial Day weekend, it was Dollar General that was the lone recipient of her quick-trip into the city for some shopping.

“We lived in a two-story house right behind here, when it was the old Gibson’s,” Johnson says. “And this is really handy for us now too, because we don’t have to go all the way through town.”