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Dollar General To Open In Vandalia As Two Area Kmarts Close

Dollar General has opened hundreds of stores a year for the last few years.
Random Retail
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Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend is the grand opening of a new Dollar General in Vandalia; the chain has been growing steadily in the region even as another discount store, K-Mart, has announced closures in Fairborn and Springfield.

Ever since the recession, low-cost discount stores like Kmart have seen competition from below, with smaller discount stores with low prices experiencing record growth. Dollar General has been one of the biggest winners: all over the country the stores are getting bigger and offering more, including cheap grocery products.

Dan MacDonald with Dollar General says the chain has been averaging 650 to 700 new stores per year. In Ohio, 188 stores have opened since 2008.

 

“In many cases we’re going to communities where they’re clearly underserved,” says McDonald, pointing out that in many rural areas the Dollar General becomes one of the only places around to get household and food products.

But the super-discount trend has also been linked to a downward push on wages since 2008; many of the middle-class jobs that disappeared around the country have been replaced by lower-wage service jobs. Now dollar stores are slowing their roll a bit as more people get more work.

It’s actually the bigger boxes that have suffered most—with closures of Targets, Sears and even some Walmart stores. Now the Fairborn Kmart and one in Springfield are on their way out, with 131 people set to lose their jobs in early December. Kmart, which is owned by the struggling Sears Corporation, says in an email the closures are an effort to cut costs and transform its business model. A liquidation sale begins in the two stores on September 28.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.