Communities Block, Ban Dollar Stores Amid Nationwide Invasion
Recall Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar stores are invading low-income communities nationwide. At the start of 2022, all three discount retailers operated 34,000 US stores, more than Mcdonald's, Starbucks, Target, and Walmart combined. Now there's a wave of grassroots opposition in cities and towns blocking these chains from opening new stores.
According to a new report published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit organization and advocacy group focused on sustainable local economies, at least 75 communities blocked proposed dollar stores, with more than 50 of those denials occurring between January 2021 and the end of 2022.
At least 54 cities and towns — including Birmingham, Ala.; Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Kan.; and Plainview, Neb. — have gone further. They've enacted laws that sharply restrict new dollar stores, typically by barring them from opening within one to two miles of an existing dollar store.
At least one town, Stonecrest, Ga., has imposed a total ban on new dollar stores. These laws are often adopted in conjunction with measures designed to support the retention and development of grocery stores.
These discounted retailers are rapidly expanding their presence across the country, targeting low-income communities with cheap Chinese-made products and unhealthy food.
A town in eastern Kentucky, with a population of 1,600, was recently overrun by a 'dollar store mania.' Given the low incomes and inexpensive land around Olive Hill, it makes sense why dollar stores are flooding the small town to take advantage of poor residents.
An Olive Hill resident told Daily Mail last month:
The proliferation of new dollar stores shows no signs of slowing down. "Communities need reinforcements to stop the encroachment of dollar stores. They need action at the federal level, where a negligent approach to antitrust has allowed Dollar General and Dollar Tree to flex their market power unfairly and overrun their less powerful competitors, especially independent grocery stores," the report said.
Make local grocery stores and farms thrive again as small towns need an economic revival.