Analysis: Growing US Opposition to Dollar Stores Playing Out in Rock Hall, Three Generations of Grocers at Risk

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For more than two decades rural communities across America have tried to fight off corporate “Big Box” stores from landing in their small towns and driving locally owned businesses under.

The immense buying power of corporate superstores, and the policy of a predominately part-time, minimum wage, workforce has given the big box great advantages to undercut the independent locally owned store that traditionally pays a living wage and offers some form of retirement and medical benefits to its workers.

But with much attention focused on the big box, smaller “match box” stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar have snuck through the back door of small towns—bringing with them the same purchasing power and rock bottom wages of superstores that make it virtually impossible for local businesses to compete in price.

Small villages and hamlets across the US are opposing dollar stores in their communities as in conflict with their comprehensive plans. They oppose transforming their unique communities to look like “Everywhere, USA.”

The conflict is now playing out in Rock Hall, where local residents and businesses have amassed over 400 signatures opposing construction of a Dollar General at the abandoned PNC Bank site on Rock Hall Avenue and a proposed Family Dollar to be built adjacent the Walgreens.

The Carroll family, Owners of Bayside Foods in Rock Hall said they and their workers stand to lose the most if Family Dollar and Dollar General anchor in Rock Hall. The community has rallied behind the town’s largest private employer to oppose the corporate chains.

The video is just under 14 minutes.

The explosion of match box stores has coincided with the worst economy since the Great Depression—targeting communities where wage growth is stagnant or in decline. Dollar General’s marketing strategy boasts an ability to lowball local competitors, and Family Dollar is on record as targeting the single-cigarette-smoking-mom making under $40,000 annually. These strategies have spiked profits and prompted Moody’s Investor Service last month to consider Dollar General for an upgrade.

Dollar General Corporation of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, owns close to 10,500 stores in 40 states, up from 8,000 stores in 35 states in 2009. Annual operating revenues are $16 billion and the company announced in January that it would add 635 stores in 2013.

Family Dollar is the number-two dollar store with over 7,000 locations in the US. The two chain stores tend to move in together.

A recent decision by the Rock Hall Planning Commission to approve the Dollar General is on appeal in Kent County Circuit Court–on the grounds that town’s comprehensive plan was not properly applied in the approval process.

Letters to Editor

  1. gerry maynes says:

    I give the carolls great credit. They could have gone Sav A Lot eliminated half their staff and the fresh Meat and Deli with pre packaged product and cut costs and still would do verry well. We need mor people like them

  2. joe Diamond says:

    Sometimes it ain’t pretty,
    Bayside Foods and the Carroll family took something the ACME chain decided to dump and made a gem out of it. ACME was there for many years and just walked away; if you want to deal with ACME drive to Ctown. The Carrolls worked hard and made it work.

    So now rise franchises to compete. Should anyone need cheap dishware or soap the new folks hope to be competitive…and hope you will also buy stuff available at Bayfoods. The town managers will not know the differences because every business address is a tax entity. Rock Hall citizens will not know the difference until the dilution of a very small customer base closes all the competing merchants.

    The alternatives ain’t pretty. Town managers could just say no…but is that the proper role for an an elected government? They could just as easily license only their relatives. Should the existing merchants get to decide how much competition is fair? There may be citizens who will insist on only evaluating goods on their cost.

    I think it will come down to patrons deciding the future of their town by deciding which parking lot to use; by supporting the store they expect to use in the future, by consistantly investing in the business they would like to see continue. This cannot be an issue decide by the courts or town managers. That is how I see it as an outsider looking in.

    Joe

    • nuther voice says:

      Finally a voice of reason in line with our democratic principles! The government should not decide but the people should. If you don’t want it don’t shop there. If they don’t make a profit they will leave. Does any one out there remember when you bought meat from a butcher, veggies from a green grocer, and milk was delivered by the milk man? They are almost all gone now because Supermarkets (like Bay Foods) came to town and the people found it easier and cheaper to shop there. Now a new entity (Dollar stores & Wal Mart) is coming to try to overthrow the supermarket. Change is natural and inevitable. If everyone bands together we may not be able to stop it but we can put it off for as long as possible.

  3. Jack Offett says:

    Sounds like Family Dollar has spent some time in Kent County. These businesses come where the customer base lives, except our smoking single moms don’t touch $40K. Maybe if we could get that mother off cigarettes, back with the father of the children , both of them employed with opportunity to stretch above $10/hr and we may have something going here – like the Kent County (and America) we dream about living in. Can only imagine that next generation would be happier with cleaner air in the home and car and two parents who care about them enough to set an example for the future behavior. As long as we like in schism land, we will continue to need Family Dollar and the likes. Again, it is all connected. Better jobs, better attitude, better lifestyle choices, and better relationships lead to a stronger family and community.

  4. gretchen stroh says:

    It does not come down to “government deciding what’s fair” or “free enterprise”…the guidelines are in place to legally protect the small towns of Kent County using the “Comprehensive Plan” that each has worked hard to develop. The “Comprehensive Plan” for Rock Hall clearly states requirements for new businesses entering the town, and the Planning Commission is entitled to use those guidelines when considering issueing building permits for businesses. It is ridiculous for “the people” of Rock Hall to have to do the job of the Planning Commission. Having been at the recent meeting held in February, it was clear they were short one member and appeared to not have the proper time to evaluate all of the information that had been presented to them that evening.

    And how insulting is it to know a business’ ideal customer is a smoking single mother making 40,000? I pictures streams of smoking single mothers walking the streets of Rock Hall followed by their children duckling style crying bring me a Dollar General!

    I have said this over and over. This is not a Bayside vs Dollar General issue. It is much larger than that. This is a Village Hardware, Walgreens, and Bayside vs Dollar General issue. Dollar General with erode the economic base of all three stores. Dollar General duplicates what each of those three stores sells in some way. Rock Hall has a fragile economic base for the about 2600 residents in the 21661 zipcode. Dollar General needs significantly more that those residents to support their store.

    Saying let the people decide after we build the Dollar General is like saying, catch the bull once we’ve opened the gate.

    • Kevin Shertz says:

      Gretchen, as the LED sign controversy in Chestertown has proven, “mob rule” in lieu of “due process” (a.k.a. abiding by ordinances and revising them in a formal fashion as needed) is in vogue on the Eastern Shore. We’re (sadly) on a road to “anything goes.”

      And, for a county so reliant on tourism as an economic base, we shouldn’t be surprised if when we look like everywhere else, people decide that there’s no reason to come here (because we look like everywhere else.)

      • Keith Thompson says:

        Perhaps the problem is that reliance on tourism as tourists are having fewer reasons to seek out Kent County as a destination. One of Mayor Willis’s stated goals is to create more than a six month tourism economy for the town.

        • Kevin Shertz says:

          Excellent notion, but the idea that people are somehow going to “discover” Rock Hall because they have a dollar store — the same dollar store that exists in Chestertown, Cecilton, and everywhere else — is a bad joke.

          If both dollar stores move in, there will be at least 2 empty spaces in town — either Bayside, Dollar General, or Family Dollar. Pick two…

          • Keith Thompson says:

            That’s not the point…if the tourist industry in Rock Hall is so moribund that the presence of a dollar store or two is going to kill it, then you can stick a fork in the tourist industry. No, a dollar store isn’t going to draw people to Rock Hall but what it will do is give a reason for Rock Hall residents to not have to go to Chestertown, or to Middletown.

        • joe diamond says:

          Keith,
          I have seen the future and the past on that one. To reap the fruits of commerce a town has to plant some seed. Go down to the docks and you can see year-round commerce. Trucks on the Bay Bridge, factories in Baltimore. The lights of a huge bedroom community can be seen at night. All require some accomodation with other factors. As a generalization, the eastern shore does not want to engage in the process.

          Joe

      • d Lamotte says:

        I agree. Rock Hall really should look after itself and the businesses that have invested in it. I personally would hate for them to sell themselves
        short . The town has charm and a following, particularly in the warmer months. I would be very picky as to what moves it. It should always
        be in keeping with the area and not put established, great businesses at risk. If a town can’t have a say on what it wants, then what is the point??

  5. Kevin Shertz says:

    I’m assuming both Family Dollar and Dollar General are aware of each other’s desire to open a store in Rock Hall. How they can both co-exist and be profitable (even if Bayside Foods did not exist at all) is beyond me.

    Worst case scenario, of course, would be both open, do poorly, and both close, leaving two empty parcels to be filled by ??? behind.

    • joe diamond says:

      Kevin,
      There is an unknown here and I have no proof of this but suspect it happens with various chain stores. Even a determined independent can legally do this. I don’t see it for Rock Hall. What can happen is a potential competitor arrives with very deep pockets. They advertise, operate at a great loss and wait out the competition in a greatly diluted market. They set up shop right across the street and just burn down the area. Gas stations used to do this and fast food operators were glad to try. Big box companies competed nation wide and would buy out defeated competitors only to demolish the looser’s store.

      So your point is well taken. In any case part of the business world is a never ending parade of competitors. They are optimistic but have little knowledge of what they are attempting. With the best of intentions they can run competent operators out of business.

      Joe

      • Keith Thompson says:

        This is also the same reason why large corporations will often support greater government regulations because they have the resources to deal with them financially when a small business owner doesn’t. If a government entity decides to base support of business based on local or corporate ownership, they’re just as likely to harm locally owned business as you are to help them.

  6. Melinda Moore, Weekender, Boater says:

    Where is all the support for these stores? Where are the great masses screaming for a Family Dollar. I hear the opposition is way more than 400 people, and closer to 700 against. Somebody locally must have an interest in the success of these stores. Who are the silhouettes behind the curtain? This all just makes no sense at this time in our economy.

    Did someone from the town seek out these corporations, or did they come here on their own? I’d be interested to know this. Where is the Mayor in all of this?

    • Well said Belinda and good questions. We’re weekenders too and as such don’t have a lot of say in the decisions of the town. However, it is the “localness” of establishments like Bayside, Village Hardware and Pasta Plus that brought us to RH. I can assure you that at least 2 weekenders will vote with their feet and continue to support the local business and the good families who run them with the hope that the rest of RH will do the same.

  7. Gren Whitman says:

    Not just one, but two “dollar stores” in Rock Hall makes no sense.
    Not enforcing the town’s Comprehensive Plan makes no sense.
    Giving angry residents the cold shoulder makes no sense.
    Forcing this issue into court makes no sense.
    Mayor and Council members saying they’re (a) helpless or (b) “gagged” makes no sense.
    A passel of nonsense, to be sure.

  8. joe diamoind says:

    That Comprehensive Plan seems silent on the issue. It is descriptive of a long period of non planning and mentions things that no longer exist. It is pretty clear on not building structures that block any Bay view but that is about it. Commercial areas are along the wider streets. So does anyone know what part of the Comprehensive Plan got ignored here?

    Joe

    • Gren Whitman says:

      Rock Hall’s Comprehensive Plan is far from “silent on the issue.”
      Consider, for example, “Maintain and encourage businesses that SUPPORT THE PEOPLE OF THE TOWN.”
      Also: “Provide employment with SALARIES HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE for the county.”
      Also: “Support CURRENT commercial … enterprises.”
      Also: “… a sustainable community that MEETS THE NEEDS of townspeople, visitors, and the environment.”
      Also: “Encourage the formation of small businesses and the relocation to Rock Hall of SMALL, LOCALLY MANAGED BUSINESSES.”
      Proposed “dollar stores” don’t come close to meeting these requirements.
      Town should just say: “Sorry, Mega-Corporations, we have a grocery store, hardware store, and pharmacy that serve our needs quite well, so, begone.”
      No one has explained why Rock Hall needs two “dollar stores” except (1) “I don’t want to be sued” (Mayor Willis) and (2) they meet all zoning requirements” (Councilman Price).

      • Joe Diamond says:

        Someone else?

        By “silent” I meant there is no definition to demonstrate what a business must be. I found no standard to compare current operators to any proposed business.

        Gren, the out-of-context statements you found do not explain what I was looking for. You drift from some quotes from somewhere in the document to your own opinion. I still do not see what part (chapter & verse) of the Comprehensive Plan has been ignored here.

        I’ll go look again,

        Joe

        Joe

        • Joe says I’ll go look again,…

          You’ll be looking for a long, long time. It’s unfortunate for the opponents of the $$$ stores that restraint of trade is illegal.

          As for the reasons why two $$$ stores want to invade Rock Hall… this seems to be their strategy around the country… in many rural areas. And again it’s unfortunate for the opponents of the $$$ stores that a logical economic strategy isn’t a zoning requirement.

      • Keith Thompson says:

        The problem is that you’re reading specifics into (perhaps purposefully) vague statements.

        “Consider, for example, “Maintain and encourage businesses that SUPPORT THE PEOPLE OF THE TOWN.”

        Wouldn’t people in the town like more local options so they don’t have to go to Chestertown?

        ” Also: “Provide employment with SALARIES HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE for the county.” ”

        So does this mean that any business in Rock Hall that has lower than the average for the county must pay their employees more or close down?

        Also: “Support CURRENT commercial … enterprises.”

        How is a “dollar store” not a current commercial enterprise?

        Also: “… a sustainable community that MEETS THE NEEDS of townspeople, visitors, and the environment.”

        Again, if a dollar store means that Rock Hall residents won’t have to travel to Chestertown, then it meets a need.

        Also: “Encourage the formation of small businesses and the relocation to Rock Hall of SMALL, LOCALLY MANAGED BUSINESSES.”

        So, does this mean that Walgreen’s must close since it is not a small, locally managed business?

        …and your final question…

        “No one has explained why Rock Hall needs two “dollar stores” except (1) “I don’t want to be sued” (Mayor Willis) and (2) they meet all zoning requirements” (Councilman Price).”

        I’d grant that the town doesn’t NEED two dollar stores but they probably don’t need two waterfront restaurants/bars that have feature live bands either, but when you have generally written comp and zoning plans you’re not putting yourself in a position to make decisions on what the town needs or doesn’t need…you’re leaving that decision up to the marketplace. Besides…not getting sued is a good motivator.

        • Weird that two “dollar stores” suddenly want to open in Rock Hall, particularly because our town doesn’t have the economic demographics to support one.
          It’s short-sighted for our “planning” commissioners to approve a “plan” that’s likely to ensure the demise of Rock Hall’s only full-service grocery, an entity that represents and embodies 17 percent of Rock Hall’s total economy. That’s right, neighbors! Collectively, we spend almost one out of every five of our dollars at Bayside Foods!
          OK. I’ve had my say about this fiasco — call it “economic-development-in-reverse” — as have others, and the give-and-take in this forum has been reasonably polite, if sometimes light on facts.
          Our “planning” commissioners’ hasty and questionable decision has been appealed to the circuit court, so let’s wait for what a judge has to say.

          • Keith Thompson says:

            Gren, you’re making an automatic assumption that there is a limiting amount of wealth in the community and that new business and competition automatically decreases everybody’s share of the pie. What you’re leaving out is that an increase in competition can also increase the overall wealth in the community. What you’re not taking into account is the amount of money that Rock Hall residents spend out of town. How many Rock Hall residents go to the Dollar General in Chestertown or the Wal-Mart in Middletown? When these Rock Hall residents are in Chestertown or Middletown getting things that they can’t get in Rock Hall, are they also doing their grocery shopping there too out of convenience? Give Rock Hall residents more opportunities to spend their money in town and it increases the opportunities for ALL businesses in town. If you’re arguing that Rock Hall’s economic health is so tenuous that a couple of dollar stores is going to destroy it, you’re arguing out of a position of weakness rather than strength. I expect to hear this out of Chestertown (which oddly enough has a Dollar General, not to mention a Dunkin Donuts downtown competing with a couple of other local businesses that serve coffee)…I’m dismayed to hear this argument coming out of Rock Hall.

          • Rocky says: we spend almost one out of every five of our dollars at Bayside Foods!

            And you have the facts to back this up? Sounds like a little lightness went into this claim. 🙂

  9. Dollar General has been trying to build here in Chester, VT, for the past two years. A small group has been fighting the plans. Here are the stories we have been writing following the developments. FYI.
    http://chestertelegraph.org/category/latest/dollar-general/

    • d lamotte says:

      Vermont is amazing. This a state that understands how vital locally owned businesses are to the economy and future of its towns. As a result, Vermont
      will be a destination long after all the other small towns, particularly in the Mid Atlantic, become the same old sprawl towns. I love that when
      Wal Mart wanted to build in Berlington, it was TOLD to inhabit a vacant building downtown and was restricted on its size. That is what is smart
      growth and that is what keeps communities healthy! I am always amazed at the preserving of natural beauty as a goal in all growth…and
      It shows!

  10. Esther Clayton says:

    My family and i visit Rockhall every season. We found Rockhall by quite an accident ten years ago. It used to be a trip we would take once or twice a season. Now we try to make it at least five or six times a season. Rockhall is the most peaceful beautiful town. Perfect the way it is. While we visit Rockhall we stay at a charming bed and breakfast. We shop at all of the local stores. We get ice cream in town. Shop at all the stores and grocery store. We try the food at all the local resteraunts but are happiest at Watermans and Harbor Shack. We generally spend about 1200.00 to 1500.00 dollars a visit. We are not boaters though we do love watching the boats and the peacefulness of the water. We in our home town have both a Dollar Store and a Family Dollar and i find the prices to be the same as the local grocery store. When we are on vacation we don’t want the same old thing as back home. We want what Rockhall offers the way it is. nice little shops in a nice town we do not need or want to see dollar stores. RockHall is not like every town in america . Rockhall is perfect . perfect without common place dollar store.

  11. @ Bob Kramer
    Bayside Foods’ total annual sale of dry goods exceeds $2.4 million—its bottom to survive—and this represents 17 percent of Rock Hall’s entire economy.
    With 34 mostly full-time, good-wage jobs overall and its annual payroll over $1 million, plus benefits, Bayside is Rock Hall’s largest full-time employer.
    In contrast, corporate giant Dollar General projects hiring 4-5 part-time at minimum wage, no benefits, and an annual payroll of approximately $85,000—and must sell $1.6 million annually to meet its business standards.
    Money spent at Bayside tends to circulate within Rock Hall, but Dollar General’s take would be daily whooshed out of town by satellite to its corporate headquarters.
    The population of the Rock Hall marketplace will not support two grocery stores (let alone three; two “dollar stores” are being proposed). From Dollar General’s Website: “Trade area population to support a store is at least 4,500,” but the total population in zip code 21661 is only 2,600. (Ooops!)
    And not just Bayside is threatened; include unfair economic pressures on our hardware and drug stores and pharmacy.
    If Dollar General and Family Dollar prevail in Rock Hall, anticipate a flood of other “chains”—Red Lobster, Dairy Queen, Home Depot, etc., not a pretty picture for what might be a formerly “quaint” village.

    • Rocky… so… you’ve included what the residents and non-residents spend on rent/mortgage, auto, boats, doctors, dentists, lawyers, healthcare, etc…plus the associated insurance… in your calculations? You must have taken Economics Light at Harvard. 🙂

    • Keith Thompson says:

      “If Dollar General and Family Dollar prevail in Rock Hall, anticipate a flood of other “chains”—Red Lobster, Dairy Queen, Home Depot, etc., not a pretty picture for what might be a formerly “quaint” village.”

      For the sake of consistancy, can it also be argued that the approval of Happy Harry’s/Walgreen’s, West Marine, etc. is what led to this “flood” of other chains like Dollar General and Family Dollar?

      • No, Mr. Thompson, that was then and this is now. Rock Hall’s updated Comprehensive Plan has been in effect only since July 14, 2011.
        FYI, the first sentence of Resolution 2011-02 reads: “Whereas the Mayor and Council of Rock Hall deemed it necessary to prepare a revised Comprehensive Plan in order to have a principle [sic] document outlining the Towns [sic] DIRECTION, POLICY and ACTIONS regarding land use…”
        I’ve capped “DIRECTION, POLICY and ACTIONS” to emphasize that even though the mayor and certain members of the town council and the planning commission insist that this Comp Plan is “only a guide,” it isn’t because town law says otherwise.

      • Hey Keith,

        Nice discussion – however, I don’t think the Walgreen’s/West Marine argument is valid for the following reasons. First, essential pharmaceuticals in Rock Hall was a need completely unmet prior to the arrival of Walgreen’s. There was no preexisting local business that could supply that need, nor were there any who sought to supply that need. And, the fact that WG’s, provides reliable service, warranties and fast access to often hard to find medicines, makes it a real asset to the town. Second, Rock Hall is the largest recreational boating center on the upper eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. While there are several local marine supplies in Rock Hall, they are primarily connected to larger marinas or boat yards. West Marine, on the other hand, specializes in convenient access to many of the national brands and catalog items that Rock Hall marina patrons would expect to find in a number one boating town. The local suppliers are still in business because they are usually part of the marinas. Two common dollar store chains, however, could only inundate the local market with easy to find, under priced goods that can be obtained anywhere. It is easy to see how they will have a very negative impact on the town’s local businesses. It seems to me that anyone who can read English – and has read Rock Hall’s Comprehensive Plan – would understand that it is designed to empower the citizens of Rock Hall to steer clear of this course. I think most people recognize this fact – yet, I can’t understand how so many people (who usually defend “buy local”) seem to think that patronizing such businesses (to the detriment of their local economy) is buying local.
        Economic balance is essential, especially in a small town.

        • Keith Thompson says:

          Mark, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.

          The Walgreen’s problem is that while they provide an essential service (pharmacy) that isn’t otherwise available, they also sell items that overlap with what grocery stores and dollar stores sell. I think it quite possible that you may find things at dollar stores that may not be available anywhere else. It’s a vague standard.

          Also, unless a town’s planning and zoning and/or a comp plan is very specific on what it will allow or not allow there is a danger that town officials will make arbitrary and capricious decisions based on personal biases or possible conflicts of interest. Unless the Rock Hall comp plan explicitly limits dollar stores, and as long as the proposed business meets zoning regs, it’s going to be hard to say no without appearing to be arbitrary and capricious. The fact that two dollar stores are looking to come in without apparent restriction tells me that there aren’t any personal biases or conflicts of interest.

          The sad fact here is that it’s apparent that no matter what was decided by the town, the Dollar General case was going to wind up in court. If I’m the town, it’s easier to defend a challenge against a proposed business than it would be to challenge a restraint of trade charge.

  12. joe diamond says:

    So Gren?
    “. . .I’ve capped “DIRECTION, POLICY and ACTIONS” to emphasize that even though the mayor and certain members of the town council and the planning commission insist that this Comp Plan is “only a guide,” it isn’t because town law says otherwise.. . .”

    That is what is going to be presented to the court? And you have a local law to control all this? Has this kind of thing ever come up before? If so, do include it. Judges like to consider precedent in resolving this kind of case.

    Joe

  13. Hmmmm…I’m late to this party but here goes…

    Rockahallics love the insular nature of their community. That is also its greatest threat. When I was working on election day, I had a conversation with a fellow judge who happened to hail from Rock Hall. I didn’t agree with her conclusion (nor was it the appropriate venue for me to declare as much), yet this argument takes me back to that place in time. The crux of her point was that the changes to the town are pricing out young families, and that this will ultimately tear the fabric of the town etc.

    So what we have here is interesting. We have the “new money” in this equation defending the local merchant against the out of town corporation. But consider that either through data captured at the POS in Chestertown or through some other marketing data obtained by these companies, it is apparent that the 21661 zip code is a potential market for these stores. So while the Family Dollar may offend the sensibilities of those who have their definition of what makes Rock Hall a quaint town, it would appear that this MEETS THE NEEDS of many in town who are not represented on this board.

    Now we move on to the other part of this issue – the business sense of having two stores operating in the value market space, operating in several zip codes with stagnant populations. Thinking out loud now…do we explore what the County’s duties may be in all of this? Maybe that’s why the courts have come into play. Is there any analagous commerce clause that tasks the county with such a thing as “regulating intracounty commerce?” You have to wonder if the Rock Hall locations succeed, do they do so at the expense of the C’town locations? And if so, what fills in that space? Maybe a better solution presents itself or none at all. I wonder if these town bodies working parallel to one another are leaving too much to chance when it comes to the larger population…

  14. Dan O'Dowd says:

    Help. We are also a small town that is being bullied by a giant box chain. On Facebook we are under ‘No Dollar General in Joshua Tree Fund Raiser’ or No Dollar Tree in Joshua Tree.

    In our community of Joshua Tree, California, we face a unique dilemma. We are engaged in a battle for our cultural and economic survival.

    Joshua Tree is the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the country. It is home to world-class artists, writers, educators, actors, musicians, intellectuals and those seeking alternative lifestyles.

    This lifestyle, this eclectic cultural jewel of the desert, is under relentless attack in a modern-day David and Goliath struggle to keep our small-town charm and world-wide tourist appeal.

    Joshua Tree is a global destination, welcoming more than 1.4 million tourists annually, seeking the allure of a land like no other on earth — primitive isolation, uncompromised beauty, and a place to be one’s self … again.

    Sadly, this haven has falling prey to corporate greed. Dollar General is about to invade a community that overwhelmingly does not want it! It does not fit in here.

    Please stop Dollar General from building in Joshua Tree.
    We need to raise serious money immediately for Joshua Tree’s legal fund!

  15. Dan O'Dowd says:

    Can you suggest ways for us to fight back?

  16. Howard Knowlton says:

    We have been fighting an uphill battle against the San Bernardino County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to prevent a Dollar General Store from ruining the rural character of our village of Joshua Tree, CA. This huge corporation has used their resources and existing law to muscle by the desires of local residents. Public opposition to this has been amply demonstrated by big turnouts at public hearings and opposing petitions. I am not a merchant but a citizen of Joshua Tree and I feel deep concern this tacky box store will drive local businesses under. Please give us any support you can for opposition to Dollar General. Trust me, your town will likely be next in line for similar destructive development.

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