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The Yankee Express

Little old Linwood abuzz about Dollar General coming to town

Feb 09, 2021 02:23PM ● By Rod Lee

The sleepy little neighborhood of Linwood in the town of Northbridge was dealt a blow with the recent abrupt closure of a seemingly thriving Salvation Army store on Providence Road. Coupled with the loss of the Cellar Sooper convenience store, Menard’s service station and Lisa Jane’s salon—situated within almost a stone’s throw of each other—it loomed as ill tidings for a pocket of the community that had been fairly robust commercially for some time.

Now comes word that a Dollar General store is taking over the spacious Salvation Army building. The property is currently under redevelopment by NAI Glickman, Kovago & Jacobs of Worcester to make way for not the automotive dealership that had been rumored as the new occupant but a Dollar General “and I think a car parts store on one side,” a worker laboring inside the one-story structure said on January 21.

This is good news for owners of businesses that have had a longstanding presence in Linwood, like the Menard family of Foxy Travel, Bill McAuliffe of McAuliffe Insurance and Scott Sundeen of Sundeen Furniture.

“Any business is good,” Keith Menard said. “The Kotseas family (which has owned the Salvation Army site)… everything they do isa good addition for the community.”

“The Sally” building has a history, dating back to its days as a market and subsequently as the home of Bill and Patti Giannopoulos’s Friendly Discount Liquors before the Giannopoulos’s moved up the road to the Shaw’s plaza at Plummers Corner.

More of a positive nature may be in the offing in Linwood, relating to the now-empty Lisa Jane’s, which the Menards hold title to. “We’re hoping for a dog groomer in there,” Mr. Menard said.

The past year or so has been a struggle for many businesses and Foxy Travel is no exception. “We’re doing about as well as everyone else,” Mr. Menard said. “Business is down about 90 percent.” Foxy is running buses “for some local schools, doing ski trips, and for inbound sports teams like UNH gymnastics,” Mr. Menard said. “We’re very fortunate, my dad instituted a policy of putting money aside for a rainy day.”

Nevertheless, one or more tenants in an empty building nearby will be undoubtedly welcomed by Foxy Travel and other enterprises in the neighborhood, including Peterson Oil, Grille 122 and Cherub’s Haven.

“Anything that is not vacant is great with me,” Mr. Sundeen said.

For Sundeen Furniture, “the big issue” during the pandemic has been “getting product in, because factories are closed down and the freight situation is terrible.”

Mr. Sundeen had heard “a couple of storefronts” for 135 Providence Road. Sundeen itself “approached the owners” a while ago with an interest to buy the property “and put our store there when we were looking to get out of Uxbridge.” Sundeen wound up finding a nice fit for its store in the former Linwood Lumber building at 241 Providence Road.

“I didn’t hit Powerball!” Mr. McAuliffe said on the telephone, in announcing that “one ticket in Maryland” instead carried the winning numbers, before he turned his attention to a question about what was happening in the Salvation Army building.

“I don’t shop at the one up the street (the Dollar Tree in the Shaw’s plaza) and I probably won’t at a Dollar General,” Mr. McAuliffe said.

Dollar General and Dollar Tree are owned by the same company, but they offer a slightly different retail experience. Despite its name, as Reader’s Digest has pointed out, Dollar General is not “a true dollar store.” Dollar Tree is, and in some cases product, like greeting cards, can be purchased for even less (two for a dollar). “Whichever store you choose to shop at, you’ll still be getting a [better] deal than you would for the same items at Walmart or Target,” RD reported. “Just remember to look for ‘Tree’ on the storefront before you go in expecting to snap those dollar deals.” 


Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.