Let me set the stage. I live in DeBary, a suburb of Orlando (or Daytona Beach, depending on your point of view). We have families, seniors and a lot people with really good hearts. But landmarkwise, there's not much going on.
That's pretty typical for a Florida town swollen by Disney's magical growth spell. We live 45 minutes from the parks but everyone from Tampa to Daytona lives in the shadow of the mouse. DeBary has deep roots but it grew up fast. This, not a lot of historical monuments. Sure, we have historic DeBary Hall, tucked away off any main road. But prominently located on our main drag, U.S. Highway 17-92, are two monuments to our recent history: Family Dollar and Dollar General. They sit on opposite sides of U.S. 17-92, each vying with the other for motorists seeking cheap shampoo and holiday decorations. I was here when these were approved. But I don't have the answer to why DeBary had two new Dollar stores other than to say that's what the market said we wanted or needed. Groan. We are DeBary. We are dollar-stretchers.
That brings be to our neighbor in Volusia County, Deltona, a city with five times the population and more than one discount store. I drive by one of them, Family Dollar, fairly often. I pulled into the store on Doyle Road earlier this month, seeking cheap power steering fluid (don't need the good stuff since it would leak out with days). It was closed, overgrown with weeds. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal. But this store had some history. Activists fought against more commercial along this stretch years ago. They lost some battles (thus, this discount store) and won other battles, including the preservation of the historic Thornby property. The conflict started about 17 years ago. Extra work had to go into this store for aesthetics and traffic. They cut the ribbon on the once-controversial store five years ago.
Now it's up for sale, on the verge of becoming an eyesore. I did some digging and found the store was targeted for closure after its corporate parent and other discount chain merged. So will it fall to the bulldozers. Will it become an even-more obscure discount store? Does this anything about consumers in southwest Volusia? I don't have the answers. But I'll keep looking. Now to the mission: Where can I find cheap power-steering fluid? Oh, nevermind. I've got two choices.