WEST TOWN — The days are numbered for V.G. Dollar Market Plus, a discount variety store that has operated out of two storefronts near the Chicago and Damen avenues intersection since 1996.
"I am just killing time here, which is no good. I'm very sad, but the area changed so much," store owner Armando Carreno said Tuesday.
Carreno, who named his shop for the Virgin of Guadalupe, or V.G., said the store at 1949 W. Chicago Ave. in the East Village area will close once he's done negotiating the sale of his merchandise to another independent dollar store owner.
The changing neighborhood demographics have resulted in fewer customers, he said.
"Now it's only white people, but no matter the color, yuppies don't buy here. Here, you see only bars. I'm very sad [to close] but I have no choice," said Carreno.
Once the store closes, Carreno, 53, said he plans to focus on his cleaning franchise that services suburban medical clinics.
Originally at 2004 W. Chicago Ave., the store moved to 1949 W. Chicago Ave. in 2008.
Carreno said his decision to buy the ground-level commercial condo about a half-block east was prompted by Edmar Foods — a Chicago and Damen avenues anchor — being replaced by a much heralded Dominick's, which caused his monthly rent to increase from $2,100 to $3,500.
In March 2014, Dominick's was replaced by a Mariano's.
In addition to V.G. Dollar Market Plus' impending closure, a nearby shop not owned by Carreno but in a similar category, Milwaukee Dollar Plus, closed last year.
Because most items in the store already are heavily discounted, such as Epsom salts, birthday party decorations and cleaning supplies, there will be no more sales as the store closes, Carreno said.
A real estate listing is asking $20 per square foot for the spot, and suggests a cafe, gym, salon, office or retail as good replacements for the dollar store.
A sleepy Sunday morning at V. G. Dollar Market Plus, at 1949 W. Chicago Ave. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
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