As economic behemoths, Dollar General and its fellow chains, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree (now owner of Family Dollar), are impressive. Last year, more than half of all brick-and-mortar retail openings were dollar stores. Industry leader Dollar General operates more than 16,000 stores in 44 states, opening 900 new outlets just in 2019. These stores are profitable, too, with net sales increasing 9.2 percent from 2017–2018. Dollar stores prosper in lean times and good, with 29 consecutive years of same-store sales growth.
But as replacements for grocery stores in the inner cities and rural communities where they are commonly found, dollar stores are poor substitutes for a supermarket. More than plugging market gaps, dollar stores perpetuate and exacerbate community economic decline as a “secondary invasive species.” They provide little if any fresh food, create few jobs, and provide few economic multipliers for a local economy. But they are often welcomed, particularly in rural places, as the only place to shop.
What does a dollar store look like? Typically, smaller than 10,000 square feet (the median supermarket size is above 40,000 square feet), their aisles are crammed with clothing and household goods and a narrow selection of processed foods—think canned peaches, cereal, cookies, and frozen waffles. Most stock few fresh vegetables, fruits, or meats.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly