The Hair FX Salon and a 108-year-old house in Townsend will be demolished, possibly as early as next month, to make way for the construction of a new Dollar General at the northwest corner of Main Street and Summit Bridge Road.
Crystal Bender says she has no idea what she’s going to do next.
“The plan right now is to pack up and put everything in storage,” the owner of Hair FX Salon in Townsend said last week. “But if we can’t find somewhere to go that we can afford, I guess it was nice while it lasted.”
Just four months after paying off her initial business loan, the salon owner received a letter in January notifying her that she has 60 days to vacate the Townsend rental property she’s occupied for the past five years to make way for a Dollar General slated for construction this spring at the northwest corner of Main Street and Summit Bridge Road.
Those 60 days come to an end March 31, but Bender says her last day of business could come by March 28.
“They tell me it’s business and not personal,” she said. “But it’s personal to me. It’s not like I have the money to go out and get a new place. I’m not one of these corporations that can buy someone else’s property and build right away.”
Bender is not alone.
The planned construction of a Dollar General on the 1.2-acre property at 101 Main Street also will require the demolition of a 108-year-old home that’s been used as an apartment building for several years.
According to various sources, only one tenant is currently occupying the building, which includes as many as three apartments.
Multiple attempts to contact the remaining resident were unsuccessful this week.
“I don’t know if he’s moved out yet or not,” Bender said. “I’ve never met him. But then again, I’ve never met the property owner in the whole year that he’s owned the place.”
Jigneshkumar and Krishnaben Desai purchased the property from longtime owner Betty Ann Sinex in October 2012, but Bender said she’s dealt exclusively with Mid-Del Property Management in Middletown.
Contacted at his Middletown home this week, Jigneshkumar Desai said he did not purchase the property with the intent of flipping it, but saw an opportunity to make a profitable business deal after being contacted by Capital Development Partners, a South Carolina real estate company that develops property for Dollar General.
“The deal is not complete but the property is under contract and should be settled by April 1,” he said. “We gave the tenants 60 days to leave, as required by law, but they’ve been on month-to-month leases since last year because we knew this might be coming.”
Mark James of Capital Development Partners said he could not comment about the land deal because a final contract has not yet to be signed.
A spokeswoman for Dollar General would only say that the company is in its “due diligence” phase with the hope of opening a new location in Townsend.
But last week, Townsend’s Board of Adjustments approved variances sought by Capital Development Partners that would allow a slightly larger driveway width, a parking lot closer to the roadway and relief from a required second loading zone.
The current design for the Dollar General calls for a 9,100-square-foot building that faces Summit Bridge Road with 36 parking spaces, including two handicap spots. A bio-retention pond also would be added between the rear of the building and Townsend Fire Hall next door.
“While I feel bad that the new Dollar General will displace the current business and residents, that decision was made by the property owner and not the town,” Townsend Mayor Jermaine Hatton said this week. “The good news is that this project will be bringing a new retail store to town and several new jobs will come with it.”
Bender said the promise of new jobs provides little consolation to her or her part-time employee.
“I’ve been looking for a new location, but haven’t been able to find anything in my price range and I’m not going to kill myself to move to a shopping center where I can’t afford the rent,” she said. “I never thought I was going to get rich off of opening a hair salon, but after five years, you think you’re finally doing good and getting your head above water. It sucks, but what can you do?”