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Family Dollar closures, tarrifs aren't totally to blame
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Dear editor,

I was saddened to read the Great Bend Tribune article: “GB Family Dollar store to close” (March 26 issue of the Great Bend Tribune). Although the giant retailer who also owns Dollar Tree (which reportedly will stay open, for now) blames tariffs with China and other countries for closing many of its stores, tariffs aren’t solely to blame. Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and its counterpart Dollar General are all retailers. They are impacted when wholesalers make price hikes. Granted, the Virginia-based Dollar Tree which is the parent company of Family Dollar attributes some closures to tariffs; it is the wholesaler who buys the imported products.

Dollar Tree is an important asset to any neighborhood, especially to the elderly and to those with limited transportation options to shop. The closures of stores hit the most vulnerable of people the hardest. They are the 21st Century equivalent of “the five and dime store” or the old “T.G.&Y. discount store.” I hate to see it shut down.

I don’t blame the tariffs. I actually believe if smaller tariffs had been phased in slowly by past American Presidents, there wouldn’t be the backlash now. I am simply saying too many past presidents were lax on foreign trade for decades. I believe in “Free Trade, but Fair Trade on a Level Playing Field.”

I pray for the future. Again, we, as citizens, have to get into a mindset that we need to “buy American” (which is almost impossible). If we don’t equate that it takes an American job to earn American dollars to buy goods — especially foreign goods — other stores may follow suit. Let’s patronize American companies which produce American products and American jobs. That is at the real root of this issue.

James A. Marples