ROXBURY, NJ – The owner of a popular “dollar store” in the Roxbury Mall is hoping he’s created enough loyal customers over the years to keep his operation in business when a Dollar Tree opens around the corner.

Sukah Singh, the 28-year-old owner of the $1 Deal store, concedes he was shocked to learn last month that Fidelity Land Management, which owns Roxbury Mall, was planning to lease to Dollar Tree the space formerly occupied by Jennifer Convertibles.

“I am definitely surprised,” said Singh, who’s operated his store for eight years. “I did not see this coming.”

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Big Bucks for a Dollar Store

He said he shut-down several other similar stores he owned, including one in Budd Lake, to focus on the Roxbury Store. That was before the Dollar Tree plan was announced, Singh said.

He said a real estate agent for Fidelity showed up in mid-December and essentially told him that $1 Deal could move to the Jennifer Convertibles space – and pay almost double the rent – or the vacant spot would be leased to Dollar Tree.

“They gave me eight days to decide,” Singh said. “It was a Tuesday. He said, ‘You have eight days from today to tell us if you want the spot.’”

Singh said he turned down the offer, knowing he couldn’t afford it. Now he hopes for the best.

A Fight on His Hands

“Am I going to have the customer base?” Singh wondered out loud. Noting he really wants to stay in business in Roxbury, Singh said he appreciates the friendliness and loyalty he and his family have been shown by Roxbury residents over the years.

“We do have a lot of customers who will stick with us, and our store is completely different from Dollar Tree,” Singh said. “We have a great customer base and a great reputation. I’ve made a lot of friends here along the way.

Although he contended that the quality of his merchandise is better than that at Dollar Tree, Singh said the biggest difference is customer service. “We’re family oriented,” he said. “We deal with you on a personal basis.”

Singh’s store is about 3,700 square feet. The Dollar Tree will be about 12,000 square feet, according to plans on file with Roxbury Township.

Those plans show that Dollar Tree - a Virginia-based, Fortune 200 company that operates more than 15,000 stores - is spending almost $130,000 building out the Succasunna site. The new store will include items not available at $1 Deal, such as frozen and refrigerated food.

Singh doesn’t know whether he will win the upcoming David and Goliath battle. He said he does realize one thing: “I don’t think there’s room for both of us.”

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