Dollar Stores Choke Life Out of Neighborhoods

Those Dollar Stores: The Truth

Dollar Stores are in the discount/value retail arena, these include, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree, these three are billion-dollar brands that are sweeping the country. According to Dollar General, 75 percent of us reside within a 5-mile radius of one of its 17,683 locations. Only around 60% of us are fortunate enough to have a hospital so nearby.

Many people who rely on food stamps are more inclined to shop primarily on price rather than proximity, per USDA research. They pass a supermarket on their way to Dollar General.

Dollar stores often employ eight or nine individuals, which is less than the average number of workers employed by small independent food stores. Even though they advertise low prices, many of the items sold at dollar stores are packaged in lower quantities than those sold at typical grocery outlets. The sticker price is cheaper, but the cost of each individual item is greater.

The arrival of a dollar store generally marks the end of a neighborhood’s surviving grocery stores, notwithstanding their meager food selection. Reports from several areas, sales decline by 30 percent when a Dollar General supermarket opened. For a company with tight profit margins, that is not sustainable.

Family Dollar Store

There are more than 15,000 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar locations.

More are on the way. As of early 2022, both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar intend to open a total of 600 new locations. As of the end of August, more than 40% of the U.S. announced store openings this year were for dollar stores, according to Coresight Research, which studies retail trends.

Dollar stores in the United States outweigh Starbucks and McDonald’s combined if only those three brands are included.

The mayor of Birmingham, Ala., Randall Woodfin, presented new data on food insecurity to the City Council in March 2019. This was a startling comparison: The average distance to a grocery shop selling fresh produce is more than a mile for 69% of Birmingham residents. For low-income households who rely on walking and public transportation, that can make grocery shopping a long and grueling task.

The mayor said that many locals were shopping at dollar stores instead of grocery stores because of the high prices. Most dollar stores don’t carry fresh food or a wide variety of processed goods, although they may be found in almost every neighborhood of the city. Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which owns Family Dollar, have grown to roughly 40 locations in Birmingham and more just outside the city limits over the past decade. 

The mayor had come to the conclusion that these chains don’t only take advantage of food deserts; they also create and perpetuate them. As a result of dollar chains flooding the city’s poorer neighborhoods with dozens of stores, new food retailers had difficulty finding space in the market. As a result, the city’s few supermarkets would be undercut. Five supermarkets have closed in Birmingham since 2005. It was even worse despite the mayor’s efforts at bringing in more supermarkets.

The city of Birmingham passed two regulations four months after the mayor’s presentation that ban the opening of dollar stores in the city and also encourage and help fund grocers and other retailers that sell fresh food. There has been a steady rise in the number of cities that have passed or are mulling limitations on dollar shop proliferation. Cities around the country are now following in the footsteps of Kansas City, Kansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Mesquite, Texas, where the trend began.

Advocacy groups for better food access are concerned that the rapid expansion of dollar stores may drive out businesses that offer more than just the usual fare of candy, soda, and other excessively processed packaged items. To better meet the needs of their local communities, the major three-dollar stores are under increasing pressure.

Critics and lovers agree that dollar stores are revolutionizing the way we shop. Because they appear to be here to stay, it’s a good idea to learn how to shop there if you have no other choice. The findings of our six-month analysis can assist you in navigating their aisles.

Do Dollar Stores Really Save You Money?

They, of course, emphasize the low costs of dollar stores. Because most of the things at Dollar Tree were sold in smaller-than-usual sizes, they were able to keep their prices low until recently. Low costs are still a big selling element for the brand, despite the company’s recent announcement that it will be testing price ranges above $1 in certain stores. It isn’t just discount chains like Dollar General and Family Dollar that are trying to keep pricing low.

Party supplies, wrapping paper, seasonal items, books, utensils, and other kitchen accouterments tend to be the most cost-effective purchases. Greeting cards, picture frames, storage containers, and name-brand cleaning products can also be found at discounted prices.

Because you never know how long something like a battery or an electronic device will last, it’s best to stay away from buying it altogether. The quality of items like cleaning supplies, vitamins, toothpaste, medicines, and personal care items sold at dollar stores is often questionable, so shopping there is risky business. 

Food shopping can be tricky because some items, such as bread, are cheaper than others. However, you should always check the expiration dates before adding items to your cart.

Are Dollar Store Savings Real?

They, of course, emphasize the low costs of dollar stores. Everything at Dollar Tree was a dollar or less until recently because they were able to accomplish so by selling most things in smaller-than-normal sizes. 

The brand’s low prices remain a key selling factor, despite the company’s announcement at the end of September that it “would be experimenting with price points above $1 in select stores.” It isn’t just discount chains like Dollar General and Family Dollar that are trying to keep pricing low.

There is a need for a smaller food shop in every community, regardless of income. In addition to their lower prices, dollar stores are easy to find (especially in lower-income areas of town), which makes them ideal for a short stop in between weekly shopping runs.

Dollaar Store

You can acquire your dog food or painting supplies for your kid’s art project in a few minutes because these establishments are typically smaller than those in a large corporation like Walmart. Due to the fact that most consumers are aware of this, the dollar stores continue to make money.

By opening stores in low-income neighborhoods and portraying themselves as a more convenient and affordable choice, dollar stores capitalize on this need. It’s easier to save money in the long term if you don’t have to drive for half an hour to get to a full-size grocery store. At the store, you’ll find thousands of items at far lower prices than those offered by competitors.

Dollar stores swiftly overtook Walmart in sales, causing Walmart to launch its own line of “little box stores” called Neighborhood Markets in an effort to keep up with them. Even if these newer, potentially healthier choices were beaten by dollar stores, they have already almost completely taken over the supermarket business in several parts of the United States.

A journey from a humble beginning to a massive end.

Dollar General’s humble origins have made it one of the largest mega-dollar store chains.

As a result, current dollar chains fall into a distinct category apart from the likes of groceries, housewares, and hardware stores, as their inventory is much smaller in each of these categories.

Even in terms of size, they have a distinct place in the market. There are approximately 178,000 square feet of retail space in a typical Walmart Supercenter, which includes general items, a full-service grocery, and sometimes even a bank. 

Between 2,500 and 4,000 square feet, 7-Eleven stores—home to the Big Gulp and more than 2,500 other items—are the norm. Between 6,000 and 10,000 square feet and about 7,500 products, dollar stores fall somewhere in the middle.

The community benefits more from grocery businesses. These people are far more likely to support their local sports teams and religious groups. For stores like Dollar General, the amount of community service that a company can provide is regulated by its general business policy.

What About Small Business Owners?

Some consumer activists have likened the expansion of dollar stores to Walmart’s rapid rise in the retail industry. In 1962, a single location opened in Rogers, Arkansas. By 1990, it had established a presence throughout the country’s suburbs and larger cities, establishing itself as the country’s top retailer. Locally owned and operated businesses were unable to compete, and many of them were forced to close.

Every day, three new Dollar General locations open around the country. It goes to places even Walmart will not: rural towns and impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. It offers basic items at basic prices. This strategy is described as “we went where they ain’t” by a former chain executive.

The brand has surpassed some of the most well-known names in American retail, like McDonald’s, with more outlets than the latter. All of the necessities, from food and cleaning supplies to clothing and tools, are within a five-mile radius of the majority of the city’s residents.

There’s a good chance you won’t have to pay more than $10 for anything. However, there is a cost to this. By driving small grocery businesses out of business and stocking their shelves with processed foods, Dollar General contributes to the obesity and diabetes crises plaguing the United States.