Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Article - How Dollar General is transforming rural America

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    curiosity
    Posts
    23,504

    Article - How Dollar General is transforming rural America

    https://www.npr.org/2017/12/11/56981...m_content=2040

    Dollar General is set to open 1,000 locations this year, for a total of more than 14,000 stores. It will have more stores than McDonald's has restaurants in the entire country.

    Al Cross, who runs the Institute for Rural Journalism at the University of Kentucky, says Dollar General competes with the world's largest retailer on price and convenience.

    But some rural residents have to drive past two or three Dollar Generals to get to the closest Walmart.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Heartland of America
    Posts
    345
    Our small town has one. I have mixed views on it. Its a cheap place to shop for a lot of things, but its run cheaply and the store is kinda dumpy.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Woods
    Posts
    4,535
    Quote Originally posted by Hawkeye66 View post
    Our small town has one. I have mixed views on it. Its a cheap place to shop for a lot of things, but its run cheaply and the store is kinda dumpy.
    I think this is the biggest problem with Dollar General. They have this stigma of being a cheap dump because well...most are run like a cheap dump. I have one in town here too, but I'll drive the 10 minutes to Wal-Mart instead because I HATE going into the place. Family Dollar is a little better, but not by much. The article isn't wrong though. I've permitted two Dollar General stores in my 5 years here, and I think they are most likely the only 2 new commercial retail stores I've permitted.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Heartland of America
    Posts
    345
    I should have added some context. Our small town is a half hour away from the closest Wal-Mart. We have a DG and a small town independent grocer. A lot of people here, like me, go to both places for different things. For DG any kind of soaps, paper towels, toothpaste, dog food, etc. For the local grocer I do bread, milk, eggs and the basics. For big shopping trips many people hit the big town 30 minutes away at Wal-Mart or the two bigger grocery stores in the area.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2003
    Location
    SW-Coastal WA
    Posts
    7,238
    In 2016, Dollar General built a location a stone's throw from Davis' store. Davis says his sales plunged by about 30 percent, initially, and that Dollar General sells some items at a lower price than he can get them for wholesale. He says he will make a decision about closing his Moville location in early 2018.

    Well, I have to wonder if there is another option. If the grocery store could eliminate stuff that Dollar General sells for less and maybe reduce store hours or diversify in some new way. for example, if they don't have a deli, maybe add one.

    I realize 30% is a big hit, but local monopoly or close shop doesn't sound like a very resilient business model.


    "In a lot of rural areas times are still very, very difficult, and a lot of shoppers are still struggling to get by," Paglia says.
    "Half the grocery stores in Iowa closed between the years of 1995 to 2005," he says.

    Jobs have been leaving small town America for a while. Retail closures are a big part of that. It isn't just fewer places to shop. It is fewer places to get a local job.

    One of the problems here is that if you want to live in a small town in part because it is cheap, you kind of need a car and to accept a long commute to do it. This adds significant expense and substantially offsets any savings of living there. If you also need to drive 20 minutes to get to a discount place like Walmart, that also adds expense to the process of shopping.

    I live without a car. I have for about 10 or 11 years. I also work remotely. I do freelance writing online and I'm a blogger. This allowed me to move to a small town with a low cost of living to make my income go further, but it needed to a small town with enough infrastructure for me to get groceries and other basics on foot.

    I have terrible eyesight problems. Driving would be genuinely dangerous for me to do (making me also a danger to other people) and I gave up my driver's license more than five years ago. So I don't really have a choice here. It isn't realistic for me to say "Well, I will bite the bullet and resume driving and accept a long commute." So I did a lot of research to find a small town that would meet my needs, because living cheaply without a car in the US is a much taller order than it ought to be, imo.

    This small town has a remarkably good library and also has high speed internet, but a lot of parts of rural America have neither of those. So, for many Americans, earning money online in place of getting a job is not very realistic. Some folks in rural America are still on dial up. (I have seen a number of articles in the last year or so about the movement to try to get internet to rural America that compare it to when the same was done for electricity in the US.)

    The locals where I live don't seem very internet savvy. I feel a bit like an alien here. But I also am trying to figure out how to do something to foster remote work in this town.

    Rural and small town America is currently being left behind. Jobs are going away and modern internet is not arriving (or is slow to arrive) to give folks a window on the world and access to some of the things the big city folks have. Even when good internet is available, it seems to be underutilized, presumably because it simply isn't understood.

    But I see potential for the internet to start addressing some of the problems of rural and small town America. Of course, that isn't going to just happen. It needs to be something people set as a goal and work towards.

    But we have the technology. We can rebuild this. We can make it better.

    (For the youngsters, that's a Six Million Dollar Man reference.)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Hawkeye66's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Heartland of America
    Posts
    345
    In the small towns we have to leverage regionalization to the extent possible. In our case our residents are scattered in where they work. I think we need to think more exurban frankly and focus on quality of life and getting a place thats nice to live and not too expensive. We are just far enough away from a city of 200,000 that we have our own grocery, pharmacy, movie theatre, yes a DG, hardware store. We can offer enough so that you don't need to run day to day to the big town 30 minutes away. You can commute there easily. Sure, keep recruiting small mfg, etc. but focus more on people.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in a meeting
    Posts
    10,457
    I am not a big fan of the dollar store or another similar chain mostly because they aren't part of the community (don't join the chamber, no sponsoring of local kids' sports teams, that kind of thing,) purposefully locate just outside the downtown so it's vehicle-dependent, they still insist on parking in the front and their building/sign is blah
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 0
    Last post: 10 Mar 2014, 4:33 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last post: 29 Sep 2009, 11:59 AM
  3. Replies: 23
    Last post: 15 Feb 2005, 2:23 AM
  4. Replies: 22
    Last post: 04 Feb 2005, 8:38 PM
  5. Replies: 4
    Last post: 27 Oct 1999, 1:13 PM