ROLLA - Although the name might suggest it, Rolla's newest business isn't a dollar store.
"We're a discount store, we carry everything you can imagine," said Brandon Mathiason, store manager of Family Dollar. "Name-brand stuff at low prices."
Mathiason said the company's catchphrase is, "Our family saving your family money," and they take that pledge seriously.
Family Dollar opened its doors in Rolla Dec. 2 and held a grand opening Dec. 4. The company has been around for quite some time - the first store was opened by 22-year-old Leon Levine in Charlotte, N.C., in 1959 - and now has more than 6,800 locations in 44 states.
Mathiason said the store's opening couldn't have gone any better, and the number of customers flowing through the doors has exceeded both the company's and his own expectations. Shelves that were full of Christmas items are now bare, waiting for the next shipment of merchandise.
"The people around here have been great, a lot of people have come and shopped," Mathiason said. "I couldn't have asked for a better turnout."
"I expected it to be busy, just not as busy. And I think that's what the company figured, too," he added. "They didn't think it would be as busy as it has been."
A new store in Devils Lake actually had its grand opening the same day as the one in Rolla, and they join numerous other Family Dollar stores throughout the state, including several in the Fargo and Grand Forks areas.
The Rolla store has a total of 11 employees, and is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
"And those are not just holiday hours, those are our actual hours," Mathiason said.
One thing many first-time customers will notice right away about the typical Family Dollar store is how small it is compared to enormous superstores. The smaller size limits what can be carried, but Mathiason said they are still able to offer an impressive array of products.
Clothing, electronics, groceries, laundry, personal care, health and beauty, pet food and automotive are just a sampling of what Family Dollar carries. About the only thing the Rolla Family Dollar store doesn't sell that others around the state do is furniture.
While Family Dollar has a large breadth of items, it lacks the depth in each category larger stores have. For instance, Mathiason said while larger stores might have many different brands of motor oil, Family Dollar only has one.
"We're not going to have a bunch of different kinds of the same item," he said.
What Mathiason ultimately sees as Family Dollar's biggest boon to the community of Rolla is the low prices. His customers have also noticed the low prices, and greatly appreciate them. Mathiason said out of all the comments he receives from customers, both good and bad, the store's low prices are by far the most remarked upon thing mentioned.
"They are glad to see our low prices. You can't find some of the items at the prices that we have, not for this area," Mathiason said. "Maybe if you went out of town you could find them for the same price, but then you're driving and putting gas in (the car) and everything else."