You could do all your shopping there with the exception of fresh meat and produce, and the prices were very good! My parents often took me there on a Saturday morning, where we would have breakfast at the counter...and the food was really good, fresh and the price was great. After breakfast my parents would walk around the store and make their purchases...radio, wool, candy, school supplies, whatever they needed and we would go to the cash and pay for the items. I can still remember the sound of the big old cash register!
As for today, at least in my opinion, I think the dollar stores are today's five and dime stores. No, (at least the ones here in Montreal) don't have a soda fountain counter where you can order a meal or a coffee, but I have often found some nostalgic items there that I honestly thought were gone for good! Lavoris Mouth Wash, for example! I remember the red one and the cinnamon taste. I was pleasantly surprised to see that dollar stores in my area are still selling this! I have always wondered why I enjoy going to dollar stores so much, but I think I know why now...nostalgic memories! Whenever I go to a dollar store I make certain that I am not in a rush and I take my time to walk around and see all the items they sell. When I see something that I remember from my childhood I have such good memories and I always feel good when I go to a dollar store...and am happy with my purchases when I leave. I also love to go to thrift and charity stores, and for the same reason!
I found this video of an old F.W. Woolworth TV commercial from 1980. Note that it was just 30 seconds in length.