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It may be tempting to get most of your shopping done at Dollar General. After all, it’s affordable, and according to GlobalData Retail, 75 percent of Americans live within five minutes of one of the stores (via Business Insider). However, before you go in and load up your cart, there are some things you might want to keep in mind. 

The opening of a Dollar General sometimes can be bad news for local business. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance reported that stores like Dollar General seem to target neighborhoods in economic distress. Then, when grocery stores and other local shops can’t compete with the dollar stores’ prices, they’re forced to close down. When the stores that sell fresh produce, meat, and fish close down, customers are left with the frozen and processed foods that Dollar General and other similar stores have to offer. 

Basically, Dollar General opens up in neighborhoods that are already struggling — and makes it even harder to be a store owner and harder for consumers to access healthy food options and other quality items, including makeup.

Dollar General hurts small businesses

David Procter, a researcher who studies grocery stores in Kansas, told VICE News, “At least on a weekly basis, we get emails or calls from some small town saying ‘Dollar General has been in town, and our business has suffered,’ or ‘Dollar General is getting ready to move into town. Can you help us?'” He  pointed out that Dollar General stores hire only five or six employees, compared to the 15 to 17 employees that local grocery stores hire, suggesting that Dollar General stores also reduce job options for local residents. 

Dollar General did recently launch the DG Fresh initiative, which is supposed to address the fresh food problem – but Dollar General’s definition of “fresh” leaves some room for improvement, per CNN. For example, they sell Swiss Miss hot chocolate and Lit’l Smokies sausages under the label.

If that’s not enough to consider, it’s worth noting that dollar stores aren’t always cheaper than other retailers. The Washington Post points out that you need to check the size and volume of items against the price. For example, your box of aluminum foil might cost less at a dollar store, but contain much less foil than the box at Aldi. All things to keep in mind the next time you need to shop.

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