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.