EYE ON PLAINFIELD: DOLLAR STORE UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

Bells rang out. Children sang in the streets. The Dollar Tree in Plainfield, Indiana, had been reborn. Along the commercial strip anchored by a Kohl’s department store, the business of inexpensive goods had begun to lag behind its competitors- the Dollar General near Domino’s Pizza and of course Five Below, barely a few doors down. What became of Tuesday’s re-opening was the spark that will light a fire in the Midwestern economy. Naturally, my first instinct was to go to the scene and be there, in this glorious re-genesis of industry.

The Face Book post that inspired a nation.

Autumn fell upon the middle-sized suburban town. In the Western hills beyond Indianapolis, Plainfield was at a crossroads. The Dollar Tree, once thriving between Rue 21 and Shoe Carnival, had deteriorated, and so had spirits across town.

My father took me to Dollar Tree when I was just a young girl. I had never seen such affordable wonders. But before today, I would rather drive to Avon than set foot in that store.

Angela Burks, 30.

As I stepped in through the door, I felt a brief static. It was an ethereal sensation I compared to stepping into a new world. There were Christmas items, decorations and wrapping paper, off to one side, consuming an entire corner of the store’s front end. How had they predicted that Christmas would come, and be so prepared? One woman, clearly entranced by the selection, shared with me her soul for a moment.

Isn’t this just precious? My grandson would love this.

Edna Donaldson, 66, holding a small statue of Santa Claus playing an electric guitar.

We shared an embrace, but it was time to move on. The floors of the store, and I cannot stress this enough, were clean enough to eat from. I took this colloquialism one step further and decided to make myself a meal of baked beans and bite-sized candy bars there upon the floor. Those in attendance gathered with confused looks until I invited them to break bread (Ritz crackers) and share in this communal moment.

We consumed the beans there on the floor and made sure to wipe up any leftover bean residue. One man, who chose to remain anonymous, pretended to lick the bean water from the floor. A hearty laugh was had by all.

I brought my empty can of beans and clearance bag of Halloween candy, now half-eaten by my new friends, to the register.

That will be four dollars and thirty two cents.

Arnold Wilson, 43

I took out my bank card and pushed it into the machine. It was a new card reader and looked as though it truly belonged in a Parisian fashion boutique. A sticker adorned the bottom, with handwritten No Chip, Please Swipe. I shared a laugh with Arnold as I removed my card and swiped it on the side. He handed me the receipt and I thanked him for all of his service to the community.

As I walked out the door into the brisk November air, I paused and looked back at the people going about their business. It was as though I was witnessing the future of America within one moderately-sized discount store. People from all walks of life had gathered.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, the sunset crested over the Buffalo Wild Wings. I thought for a moment, “will I ever see beauty such as this ever again?” And I realized that before today, I had never considered that a moment so pure and perfect could happen. I yearn for what is next, what treasures this life has in store. My stomach hurts.

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