Coming soon: A Dollar General Store near you

Published 12:09 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Wherever you live in Isle of Wight County, you are within about a 10-minute drive away from a Dollar General.

That proximity is not a coincidence.

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It’s part of an expansion strategy the company has been implementing in rural areas, according to Dollar General’s Senior Director Corporate of Communications Dan MacDonald.

A similar strategy may be coming to Surry County as well.

The chain store currently has two locations in the town of Smithfield and one in the town of Windsor, as well as Rushmere and Carrollton.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Along the edges of the county, there are also two Dollar Generals in Suffolk, and three directly across the James River Bridge in Newport News. There is currently one located in the town of Surry.

“Convenience is a big part of the value equation that we provide to customers,” MacDonald said.

The company recently expressed interest in possibly building another location within Surry County, this time in Spring Grove, which would be just shy of 10 miles from the other Dollar General stationed in Surry, another would-be 10-minute driving distance.

While there is only one other Dollar General in Surry right now, the county is flanked by ones in Waverly, Disputanta and Prince George County, as well as the one in Rushmere.

It’s still in the early stages and there’s been no final decision by the company as to whether another Dollar General will spring up in Spring Grove. MacDonald said the corporation looks at population size, median income, as well as other shopping venues in the area and their prices when deciding where to build.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to serve new communities,” MacDonald said.

The average Dollar General store is relatively small, about 7,300 square feet, according to MacDonald. Comparatively, the average size of a Walmart is 107,000 square feet, according to the superstore’s corporate website.

Dollar General has become known for its discount prices along with its convenience for shoppers.

“We are very strong in small town America,” MacDonald said.

The chain has become something of a thorn in the side of some small business owners in the area, however. Local store owner Haresh Patel said he was recently forced to close the Rushmere Food Mart largely due to the corporate competition and low prices of the Dollar General that moved in right next door to his shop. It closed in April, but the Food Mart has since re-opened with a new owner leasing the building and keeping the name.

Dollar General requested a public hearing from the Surry County Board of Supervisors to rezone two acres in Spring Grove from Agricultural-Rural to General Business District for the potential future site of the retail store.

The location would be in close proximity to Two Sisters Food Mart, another independent convenience store, located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Highway (Route 40) and Colonial Trail West (Route 10).

The Board will hold a public hearing on the potential rezoning July 6 at 7 p.m. in the General District Courtroom of Surry County.

Dollar General, based in Tennessee, brought in $22 billion in sales last year, an increase of 7.9 percent from 2015. It currently has 13,320 locations spread out over 43 states. It plans to open another 1,000 stores by the end of this year.  {/mprestriction}