How does Dollar General stay in business?

They have popped up all over the place in rural areas of Maine. I occasionally have stopped in for a snack. When I have gone into one of their stores, there usually weren’t any other customers at all. Dollar stores are a volume business. Hoping that somebody pops in to buy a soda once in a while does not seem like a viable strategy. Especially since the roads they are on already have grocery, drug and convenience stores nearby. Whats going on here? Is Dollar General some kind of front?

It’s pretty ubiquitous, so I doubt it’s a front. I’m going to guess that their business model is to sell things for more money than they paid to obtain them, thereby generating profit.

If they buy stuff in bulk, the wholesale prices are probably pretty low. And they probably are located mostly in strip malls so they get a lot of walk-in traffic.

I can’t speak to your specific location, but I’m guessing that’s how the company stays in business.

A lot of them have been popping up in small rural towns all over Northern California. I think they just fill a need that supermarkets can’t fill.

They’ve taken the place of the “five & dime” stores of my childhood.

One opened in my town a decade ago, and closed after a few years. It makes me wonder if they are only a tax write-off, like the K-Mart store was, which lasted about the same time.

Front. They are really ISIS recruiting depots. Come in for the Cheetos, stay for the Caliphate.

What they stock is hit and miss. If you want a particular brand of something, don’t go there. I think they buy overstock, when places sell it at a loss to recoup something, so they get it for way cheaper than even Walmart.

I go there when I need something like an ice cube tray, or generic OTC drugs. I also get packaged, non-perishable, single serving food there, for the lunch bags I keep in my car to give to people begging on the road medians. I find that about 85% of people say “Yes” to food when offered, and I see several people eat something right away out of my rear-view mirror. The Dollar Store is actually really great on non-perishable, single serving stuff, like these little boxes that have crackers, tuna salad, and a plastic spreader. I can’t find those anyplace else, and the Dollar store sells them for 50 cents apiece. They have like 7g protein, plus iron and vitamins A & D. Then they’ll have Yoo-hoo, which isn’t as nutritious as milk, because it doesn’t have the protein, but it has 30% USRDA calcium, and I can get six juice-box sized servings for $1. I checked the dates on them, and they aren’t due to expire for like a year, but the ones in the grocery store have 2 years on them, so that’s another reason I suspect something like overstock/backstock.

There’s some stuff you can count on them having, and some you can’t. The stuff you can count on they get cheap, the rest is, as stated, overflow and such.

I get my Lays Stax there, as well as these coconut gluten-free cookie things. They aren’t really any less expensive than at Walmart, but they’re more convenient.

There’s one in my small, rural area (nearest supermarket 20 miles away). There’s always customers there, though, and it’s packed on Saturdays. I heard a year or two after it opened that an article named it one of the more profitable locations nation-wide. Didn’t actually see the article, though, so no idea if it’s true.

We had a Dollar store in my city that went out of business , I am not sure if was from doing poor business or if the owners moved out of town .

Note that Dollar General is not a dollar store. They sell items at various prices and most are more than $1.

It similar to Ocean State Job Lot – they buy overstock items at a fraction of their wholesale price and can have a reasonable markup so they can make a profit.

Dollar stores fill an important role for folks like myself who don’t necessarily want to drive out to a big box store to pick up odds and ends. There are two dollar stores within walking distance to me. But Target and Walmart are out in the 'burbs.

I always buy my sunglasses from Dollar General.

At unit price, many items are actually more expensive. But $1 for a box of 10 generic bandaids looks like a better value than $2.99 for a box of 20 BandAids at Walmart. Your $1, 8 oz bag of Lays chips looks to be a better value than the $1.99 20 oz bag at a grocery store. As for housewares, I think most folks go in realizing that they’re not buying quality, and the store makes money from repeat buyers of the disposable or cheaply made products.

I shop at Dollar General often. They have good prices on quite a few things and are usually closer than a Walmart or similar place. There are four of them in the town near me. They always seem to do a steady business. The thing I notice is that they’re understaffed. Whenever I go in and there isn’t a customer checking out, the cashier is off somewhere in the store stocking shelves. Often as not, they aren’t within sight of the door. This makes me wonder how much merchandise walks out the door.

I have noticed lots of new ones in rural north Georgia. They always seem to have a few cars in the lot, but I bet some won’t survive.

I shop at Dollar General stores often. In my area of Tennessee, they seem to pop up about every 15 miles along state highways and in towns. They are a bit bigger than a convenience store and much cheaper. They are small enough to get what you need quickly, which will mean less choice of brands, of course. But if all you need is a couple of things on the way home, they have the Super Walmart beat all to hell, as far as I am concerned. I can grab a tube of toothpaste and a loaf of bread and be back in the car in 5 minutes.

There are a number of companies with similar names: Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar…

You’re thinking of dAllah Store.

It is generally a dollar store. It’s right there in the name. :wink:


I dunno. Band-Aids are a superior product? FWIW, I got some really good small, adhesive bandages from Dollar Tree a few weeks ago.

Despite the seeming ubiquity of Walmarts, there are plenty of rural communities which don’t have a Walmart (or Targets or KMart) within a fifty mile drive. Stores like Dollar General often serve as these community’s equivalent. Sure, it may be a third rate department store but it’s local.