Editorial: The Ballad of Dollar General

Published 9:46 am Monday, July 8, 2024

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Come and listen to a story, about a store you know so well

Crowded aisles and bursting shelves, as best as we can tell

They’ve built one here, they’ve built one there

Hell, they’ve built one everywhere.

It’s called the Dollar General,

     we’re under their business spell.

Mesmirized. Captivated. Cheap stuff. China made. Some strange plastic smell.

Well the next thing you know, there’s a new one in your hood;

You don’t know why, but some will say it’s for your

     own darn good.

You won’t have to travel far, to get that stuff you need;

But it’s all just to satisfy, some old rich guy’s greed.

It’s Dollar General, you know. They’ll build one anywhere. Metal buildings. Parking lots. Ya’ll come and see us.

Is the Dollar General our new country store?

If so, we need some new rules.

The days are gone when each little community had it’s own store, usually, but not always, associated with a gasoline pump and a friendly owner. We’re more mobile than ever; that’s why those country stores closed. That, and the fact that national retail chains began taking over.

And Dollar General … if you don’t have one in your neighborhood yet, just wait. It will likely be there soon.

It may be a good business plan, but properties occupied by Dollar General are – to put it bluntly – ugly.

The new one on US 158 at Sain Road (It’s only a few miles from WalMart for goodness sake (Oh, that struck a nerve, didn’t it, Dollar General?), sits on such a small lot that passersby will mostly just see the side or rear of a metal building. Maybe a parking lot. And maybe a few vehicles.

Another new one on US 64 West at NC 901 is way too close to a busy intersection. They promise improvements to the road, but we’ll see. Pundits envision another roundabout with Dollar General having it’s own exit.

Some of the most contentious decisions county commissioners make are about rezoning. Sometimes for a Dollar General.

Maybe they should change their focus – or more importantly, change the rules. Upgrade the types of construction allowed, upgrade buffers, make the designs fit in more with the surrounding communities. Make the store face the road.

Just do something.

We’re getting too many buildings erected right at the highways. We need a break.

– Mike Barnhardt