Shopping for groceries at Dollar Tree or Dollar General? Why some communities are revolting

Marina113 /

Discount stores like dollar tree and Dollar General won first place for most outlets open in 2022but not everyone is so welcoming.

See: With grocery stores and dollar stores competing for your cash, here’s how to spend most efficiently
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Since 2019, at least 75 communities have rejected proposals for new dollar stores, according to a report published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization and advocacy group, as reported by Best Life. The same report found that at least 54 cities and towns – including Birmingham, Alabama; Fort Worth, TX; Kansas City, Kansas and Plainview, Nebraska — have laws in place that “severely restrict new dollar stores.”

Some cities have prohibited them from opening a new location within a mile or two of an existing dollar store. Best Life noted that the town of Stonecrest, Georgia imposed a total ban on new dollar stores.

Executives say these discount stores are hurting local communities by undermining local grocers with low prices and promoting unhealthy food choices. The Institute for Local Self-Government said Dollar General and Dollar Tree distinguish marginalized communities and rural towns, Best Life added. “They usually set up shop next to or across from the only grocery store in town and often succeed in eliminating it,” the nonprofit explained in the report.

Stock of dollar chains no fresh produce and often sell “cheating” sizes from vendors at a higher price per ounce, the report points out. Chains also rely on a deliberately understaffed lean workforce model in their stores and have become magnets for crime and violence.

However, a spokesperson for Dollar Tree and Dollar General told Best Life that the stores “bring quality products at accessible prices” and help alleviate “food deserts” in areas where there are few grocery options.

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