Heading west off of Interstate 20 and making a right at the first light, Grambling residents may notice a new business landmark. On Aug. 15, Dollar General opened a new store on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd.
In an email submitted to The Gramblinite, Dollar General says that the small city was a perfect match for the store and that they want to provide a convenient shopping experience to the community.
Mayor Edward Jones says that the city had to approve the plans and building of the newly constructed store.
“The planning and zoning committee had to approve the business,” Jones said. “That area is what we call our newly incorporated business district.”
According to Dollar General when choosing a city, the company factors in several options including customer needs, demographic trends and traffic patterns.
Jones says the advantages that the store brings to the community are huge.
“Number one it (Dollar General) offers a dire service to our citizens. It provides goods and services to them. Anything that will give them the convenience of not having to go outside of the city limits. Second it increases the revenue for the city,” Jones said.
Currently the city of Grambling has a sales tax rate of nine percent. Of that nine percent, two percent of that stays in the city of Grambling.
“We are encouraging all of our citizens to shop in Grambling first because the two percent helps the city provide infrastructure and other city services,” Jones said.
With the building of the store, this is one installment of many as city officials have spent over $170,000 on nine acres of land for future projects.
Not only is economic development and location the main focus of the store, but also competition.
Dollar General is built within close distance to Family Dollar, one of the company’s biggest competitors.
Assistant store manager, Evelyn Nelson says the close proximity of the stores is a positive thing. “It’s healthy competition. We are both trying to build the community,” Nelson said.
Family Dollar assistant store manager William Munfor Kometa disagreed with Nelson, and insisted the city needed another consumer entity.
“I would rather have a grocery store,” Kometa said. “A store of the same category doesn’t make any sense.”
However, both stores agree that customer traffic has not slowed down even though customers have the power to choose.
“It’s convenient. It’s closer. I rather go to a Family Dollar any day. But I shop at both of them,” said Charlotte Cleveland, a local shopper.
Nelson says that the customer flow has been consistent.
“They enjoy it (Dollar General). The traffic flow has been excellent. A lot of community people visit the store,” Nelson said.
Kometa says that competition brings a drop in traffic, but they have faithful customers.
“We have customers in the evening. We will have customers who want to shop here. We have stuff they don’t,” Kometa said.