A pair of workmen spent part of Friday afternoon putting up a big new sign, and there's a "help wanted" placard in the window. Dollar Tree is about to arrive in Maryville.
The discount variety store chain, known for selling merchandise that only costs a dollar, has announced that its new Maryville location will open in the Mary Mart shopping center on South Main Street at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 30.
Mary Mart Corp. owners Louis and Mark Watkins announced plans to bring Dollar Tree to town in January, when the Maryville City Council voted unanimously to approve a Community Improvement District embracing all of the strip mall's retail operations.
Creation of the district means that Mary Mart stores will charge an extra one-cent sales tax designed to bring in $1.5 million over the next 30 years. The money will be used to service a loan that is paying for bringing a pair of storefronts up to corporate specifications.
Those spaces will house Dollar Tree and rue 21, a discount clothing retailer specializing in casual clothes for young men and women.
The CID tax is in addition to the 7.9 cents in local and state sales taxes already paid by Maryville shoppers for each dollar they spend.
Mark Watkins has maintained the improvements were necessary in order to attract suitable anchor stores as tenants. After a couple of tenants departed, and Watkins True Value Hardware moved across the street a year and a half ago, the aging mall had roughly 20,900 square feet of vacant floor space, or nearly 60 percent of its total retail capacity.
Under state law, CID taxes can only be collected in a "blighted" area. City Attorney Doug Thomson told the council in January that Mary Mart qualifies due to its status as an "economic liability," meaning that desirable anchors were unlikely to rent available space in the condition it was in prior to the renovations, which are still underway.
Mary Mart Corp. estimates that the two new tenants will create as many as 20 full-time and 30 part-time jobs while generating $850,000 in sales tax revenue for the city of Maryville over the next five years.