ATLANTA -- In less than a week, the debate over a new Family Dollar store has gone from a southwest Atlanta neighborhood to national television.
Thursday afternoon, a group of 20 protestors gathered at the corner of Fairburn Road and Benjamin E. Mays Drive where construction crews have broken ground for a new Family Dollar store.
Earlier this week, District 10 Councilman C. T. Martin squared off against Family Dollar VP of Strategies Mtu Pugh on CNBC's "Street Signs." The councilman said Family Dollar is a low-quality store that cheapens the neighborhood.
Pugh said the company's goal is to put stores in "locations that are convenient for our customers."
"We have a real estate model that helps us determine where to put our stores," Pugh said on the show. "We put our stores where we believe they will be successful."
But critics say that is the problem; they believe Family Dollar targets so-called low income areas.
On the Family Dollar website, a map of more than 30 metro Atlanta stores shows a majority in the south and west parts of the city. Three of those are located within a 2.5 mile stretch of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, with two more stores under construction only minutes away.
By comparison, the map shows only one store in the Midtown area and zero in Buckhead.
Pugh said Family Dollar is committed to working with the community to enrich the area around the store, but neighbors are fighting to make sure the company won't get that chance.
Martin has invited a Family Dollar executive to visit the neighborhood and hear their concerns firsthand.