In a significant development for the town of Eads, Colorado, Dollar General Corporation, a prominent American retail giant, is set to establish its presence in the heart of the community by the summer of 2024. This move, marked by the initiation of construction on a new location at East 15th Street, has stirred anticipation and, concurrently, concerns among local residents and businesses. Dollar General's mission, as per its official statement, is to serve as America's neighborhood general store, with a commitment to providing affordable products and services, creating career opportunities, and supporting literacy and education in hometown communities.
As of May 5, 2023, Dollar General operates 19,294 stores across 47 states and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico, offering a wide array of everyday essentials, including food, health and wellness products, cleaning and laundry supplies, self-care and beauty items, and seasonal décor. The corporation boasts partnerships with globally recognized brands such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, General Mills, Hershey, J.M. Smucker, Kraft, Mars, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.
The site for the new Dollar General store in Eads, located just west of the Windmill Saloon on East 15th Street, was acquired by Via Real Estate LLC. The warranty deed for the purchase was signed on November 21, 2023. Robin Fox, the town clerk, confirmed that the land falls within the town limits and will be serviced by town water and sewer infrastructure.
As the construction progresses, the looming presence of Dollar General raises pertinent questions about its potential impact on local small businesses, particularly those in the retail and grocery sectors. Dollar General's operational model, characterized by everyday low prices on quality merchandise, presents both opportunities and challenges for the community.
One immediate concern is the potential decline in spending on fresh produce within the community. Dollar stores like Dollar General often have limited offerings in the fresh produce category, leading consumers to reduce their spending on essential items. Research indicates that the presence of dollar stores can result in a decline in access to fresh produce, contributing to nutritional inequality, especially among low-income households.
In response to queries about the upcoming Dollar General store, the company provided an email statement, "DG is currently under construction on a new location at East 15th Street in Eads, Colorado. At this time, a store opening is slated for summer 2024, but understand that construction progress may alter this date."
The Dollar General store is expected to employ approximately 6-10 individuals, depending on the specific needs of the store. Interested individuals can apply for available positions online at www.dollargeneral.com/careers.
One positive aspect emphasized by Dollar General is its commitment to community service through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The foundation supports literacy and education programs, awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, schools, and libraries within a 15-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center.
However, the impending arrival of Dollar General has raised concerns among local business owners, such as Keith and Jennifer Crow, third-generation owners of Crow's Stop and Shop. The locally owned business, which has served the community for over a century, is apprehensive about the impact of competition from a large corporation that can offer similar items at lower prices.
Crow's Stop and Shop, a staple in the community for generations, offers a range of products, including groceries, pantry staples, snacks, and more. Dollar General's ability to provide these items at a reduced cost due to its large-scale operations may pose a threat to the sustainability of local businesses like Crow's.
Another local business expected to feel the effects of Dollar General's entry is Kiowa Pharmacy. Over the years, the pharmacy has expanded its storefront to include items such as clothing, gifts, and more to cater to those who prefer to save time and money by avoiding trips out of town for essential items.
Local businesses in Eads are already grappling with challenges such as the inflated Colorado minimum wage, set to increase from $13.65 to $14.42 on January 1, 2024, which is $7.17 higher than the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage for tipped employees is also increasing, rising to $11.40 in January 2024.
Despite the challenges, Dollar General's entry into Eads brings certain benefits to the community. The corporation's large-scale operations allow it to offer a diverse range of products, including clothing, beauty, medical supplies, toys, home goods, décor, holiday items, groceries, and more, all at a reduced cost. The convenience of extended hours and a comprehensive product selection is expected to attract a significant portion of the local consumer base.
The competitive pricing model adopted by Dollar General is supported by its low-cost operating structure and a strategy to maintain a limited number of items per merchandise category, ensuring strong purchasing power. This model, while beneficial for consumers seeking affordability, poses a challenge to local businesses attempting to compete on price.
Dollar General, in its email response, emphasized its commitment to meeting customers' needs and providing convenience for those who may not have affordable nearby retail options. The corporation aims to continue meeting customers' price, value, and selection needs while striving to provide accessibility and convenience.
Local businesses, aware of the impending challenges, are evaluating strategies to navigate the changing landscape. For Crow's Stop and Shop, a business deeply ingrained in the community's history, the competition from a corporate giant prompts careful consideration.
When asked how Crow's Stop and Shop plans to handle the competition, owners Keith and Jennifer Crow issued a joint statement, "As a locally owned and operated business with a rich history spanning over three quarters of a century, we have been a vital part of this community. Acknowledging the challenges posed by the arrival of Dollar General, we affirm our unwavering commitment to our customers and the enduring values that have shaped us for generations. Embracing the spirit of innovation, we are actively exploring ways to enhance our offerings, elevate the customer experience, and deepen our engagement with the community.
While we harbor concerns about the impact of Dollar General on our community, we understand the changing landscape. Dollar stores, in particular, have presented challenges for small, family-owned businesses in similar towns. The full extent of these effects remains uncertain until the dollar store is operational. Conversations with fellow small grocers have highlighted potential risks to the longstanding family businesses that form the backbone of our community.
Keith and I extend our heartfelt gratitude to our community for its unwavering support throughout the years. We remain dedicated to delivering exceptional customer service, and we are confident that our outstanding staff will continue to provide a level of service that rivals any offerings from Dollar General. Together, we look forward to navigating this transition and continuing to serve our community with pride and dedication."
Crow’s Stop and Shop manager Nicole Keplar who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the grocery store stated in part, “I believe we will certainly have small battles to overcome with a business such as Dollar General coming into the market...Crow’s will always have FRESH meat and produce available for their patrons; something you cannot find amongst the aisles of Dollar General.”
Kiowa Pharmacy, facing similar challenges, may need to reassess its product mix and services to maintain its competitive edge. The increased minimum wage and the economic impact of a large corporation in the local market necessitate strategic adaptations for small businesses to thrive.
As Eads anticipates the completion of Dollar General's construction project, the community remains engaged in discussions about the potential impact on local businesses and the overall retail landscape. The intersection of corporate expansion and community dynamics is a complex issue that will undoubtedly shape the future of Eads' economic landscape.
While Dollar General's entry brings the promise of affordability and convenience to the Eads community, it also presents challenges to the longstanding local businesses. The delicate balance between corporate expansion and the preservation of community values is at the forefront of discussions, with residents and business owners alike navigating the evolving dynamics in this pivotal moment for Eads, Colorado.