Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Mini ‘Walmarts’ of rural America expand to 19,000 stores. Poll included

Any RVer who has traveled in rural America has likely come across many Dollar General stores, and has probably stopped to buy something on occasion. In many cases, Dollar General is the only convenience-type store within miles.


The chain dubbed “America’s General Store” has now reached a milestone that few other U.S. retailers have even come close to: It recently opened its 19,000th store, in Joplin, Mo. In comparison, Walmart operates about 4,700 stores in the United States.

The stores feature low prices on frequently needed items including food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, housewares, seasonal items, paper products and much more from America’s most-recognized brands and products, along with private brands.

In November, Dollar General said its plans were to undertake approximately 3,170 U.S. real estate projects in fiscal year 2023 (ending Feb. 2, 2024), including 1,050 new stores, 2,000 remodels, and 120 store relocations. It also plans to open new stores in Mexico, with a goal of operating up to 35 stores there by the end of fiscal 2023.

Dollar General was founded as a wholesale venture in 1939 by J.L. Turner and his son, Cal Turner, Sr. The father and son duo opened the first Dollar General store in 1955, in Springfield, Kentucky.

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Traveler (@guest_221445)
9 months ago

“Americas general store”? No, most goods in it are imported.

Theresa Ornoff (@guest_221442)
9 months ago

We live in a rural community with a Dollar General Market. This is a good shopping option for those of us who have few grocery or general shopping options without traveling 30 or more miles. Its funny because I actually shop at Dollar General more when I’m not traveling in our RV than when we are on the road.

Susan S. (@guest_221437)
9 months ago

My husband and I stopped in a Dollar General Market last fall in the closest town which was about 15 miles from the campground we planned to camp at for a few days. We’d never seen the word “Market” added to the outdoor signage before. We’ve shopped in several DGs (we have over a dozen to choose from in a 20-mile radius in our area of NE Oklahoma), but this was the first time we’d seen or shopped in a DG Market and assumed it’s a new venture with them. Inside there was plenty of fresh produce, dairy, frozen, etc. as well as other merchandise to choose from. It was easy to find what we needed, and the store was very neat and orderly.

Susan Lundquist (@guest_221627)
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan S.

Have never seen produce or meat at any of them. Maybe this is a change for the better. Several places we used to stop at, on cross country trips to visit family, had mom and pop groceries with a little bit of everything (and a great attitude by everyone in the store). They are now closed down because Dollar General put a store in their town or the next town over.

Calvin Wing (@guest_221432)
9 months ago

We almost never shop at Dollar General. You have to constantly do the math on price per ounce and Generally their prices are NOT the lowest you’ll find.
We watch prices in the retailers in a small (population 3,800) Kansas town where we still have relatives. A Dollar General store opened up and closed due to being non -competitive to a local competitor. They frequently open stores and close stores. Their higher price per ounce and the fact that what they sell is much less nutritious than what humans need to eat contributes to their revolving door operations.
Store building and then failure are deductions on their otherwise highly profitable operations.
The small town we watch is 35 miles from a SuperWalmart. Even with a 70 mile round trip the locals save enough money that they can still support a new locally owned grocery store for fresh food and the forgotten items.

Liz Wharton (@guest_221427)
9 months ago

Few know or realize that when a Dollar General appears in a small town, real grocery stores won’t come to that area. What this does is leaves huge food deserts where there is little or no produce, dairy or meat nearby that is affordable.“The USDA considers a food desert an area with “no ready access to a store with fresh and nutritious options within one mile” Not such a great outcome for folks who live far from a real grocery store. Obesity is one cost that local folks pay.

Glen Anderson (@guest_221434)
9 months ago
Reply to  Liz Wharton

Not quite correct. Take Floyd, VA as an example. Floyd is a one stoplight, rural mountain town in the Blue Ridge mountains that has a Dollar General as well as a Family Dollar. There is also a full sized Food Lion. These stores are totally different and serve the locals and visitors differently, depending on the needs of the community. The DG and FD stores are usually located near the outskirts of towns where property is less expensive. They all do good business. This is repeated throughout the country.

SLR (@guest_221426)
9 months ago

Dollar General (and Family Dollar) is not a “dollar” store, so yeah, it’s are more expensive than actual dollar stores. In my experience, both DGs and FDs are usually filthy and the inventory inconsistent. I agree with another comment that the packaging can be smaller, which is why they may appear cheaper. I have never seen produce in their stores, and the refrigerated “section” is often just one fridge with very little in it. I have sometimes been surprised, but often disappointed, at what I find in them. I really see little difference between them and convenience stores, with the exception of more household items and the occasional rack of t-shirts. So, to me, they are hit or miss, but certainly better than nothing, especially for small communities that are a significant drive from their nearest grocery. All that said, I have never seen one with more than a tiny parking lot.

Dennis Johnson (@guest_221409)
9 months ago

We are wintering in SW LA this time around and have seen DG’s as close as two miles apart. And have seen towns under 1000 population with DG, Family Dollar and Dollar tree!

CeeCee (@guest_221396)
9 months ago

I visited a DG last year. I was expecting it to be like Dollar Tree and was shocked at the prices. I suppose it fills a niche, but I will plan ahead so I don’t have to shop there.

Richard (@guest_221377)
9 months ago

Their house brand(Clover Valley) salsa is our go-to favorite. I like small stores. I can work around the small parking lots. If the pay is too low, go somewhere else. If you can’t negotiate the aisles, lose weight. If you think it’s too expensive, don’t buy it. BUCK UP! Quit your whining!

Marybeth Almand (@guest_221363)
9 months ago

A whole bunch of them have a REDBOX movie kiosk outside. We rely on those for entertainment when we are boondocking.

Sharon N (@guest_221358)
9 months ago

I live in a small town ( about 3000 full-timers) in NE Arizona. We have both a Dollar General and a Family Dollar. Because major grocery stores or a Walmart are about a 45 mile drive, I frequent the DG and FD stores in my town. However, I don’t ever remember going to any of these “dollar” stores while we were RVing.

eric (@guest_221350)
9 months ago

What I have found is that the stores are in rural areas where alternatives are not conveniently close or available. That being said, even with 19,000 stores there are still places that need them because no other store is nearby that sells everyday-needed goods.
The stores I have visited are clean and well stocked. I have never had a complaint. Yes, they are not Walmarts but they are also not 7-11s. They fill a much needed niche, not only for local residents but for RVers who travel in out-of-the-way places.

Charlie Sullivan (@guest_221387)
9 months ago
Reply to  eric

Well said…I agree!

M D-B (@guest_221336)
9 months ago

DG is trying to build yet another store in my small county already having 5 dollar stores. The residents of the township where the newest one is proposed for aren’t having it. But history shows DG will prevail. Dollar stores and Marijuana stores on practically every corner of this small county.

Don H (@guest_221321)
9 months ago

This chain and it’s twin, The Dollar Store, are often the ONLY retail sellers for miles around in rural America. Us citified folks look down our noses at them,but they’re literally life’s blood for millions.

Gary (@guest_221318)
9 months ago

Their stores are usually filthy. I do go there for reading glasses and deodorant. That’s about it.

rltwellman@gmail.com (@guest_221290)
9 months ago

Most of us can get our RVs into DG’s parking lots. During our visit to my home state MO last fall we found a brand new DG just 3 miles from the family home. It sits near several housing developments so most could walk there if they chose. The nearest towns (not cities) are about 5 miles away. Like the Glampgrounds they found a need and filled it.

Bob M (@guest_221285)
9 months ago

I off & on stop at Dollar General. I did notice their prices are higher, especially for wet dog food. Many times they have merchandise that other stores don’t. Like the small rolls of Charmin toilet paper. The Dollar General’s in my area are busy and always stocked. I read an article that said the don’t pay much or treat their employees good. The article also said in some areas it’s unsafe to shop at with merchandise stacked over the place. My friends wife works at one and she seems ok with the job.

Joe Goomba (@guest_221278)
9 months ago

Like Walmart, Dollar General is helping to decimate small town downtowns across the USA.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_221266)
9 months ago

Dollar General and Family Dollar are both places that have small parking lots. If you can park your RV in the street (which usually works in their small town locations), it’s a place to sometimes find what you need. Problem is, they too have trouble hiring people so the aisles can be full of not stocked items

John Hicks (@guest_221254)
9 months ago

Unfortunately most Dollar General parking lots are inaccessible to RVs because they’re too small and have only one way in or out. Their fresh or frozen food selection is usually convenience-store level, and prices of many items are artificially high because the size of the items is smaller than normal.

Last edited 9 months ago by John Hicks

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