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Dollar General Corp. expands its rural niche, sometimes making it too tight for other retailers

Louisa/Ft. Gay area now has three stores

 Turner's Department store in Springfield, KY, is converted into the first Dollar General in 1955 with no item over $1. Soon, Dollar General Stores started sprouting up in southern Kentucky, like this store in Campbellsville, KY.Turner's Department store in Springfield, KY, is converted into the first Dollar General in 1955 with no item over $1. Soon, Dollar General Stores started sprouting up in southern Kentucky, like this store in Campbellsville, KY.

Discount chain Dollar General Corp. is expanding in most U.S. rural areas, but some residents have mixed feelings about that. Dollar General started out in rural Kentucky, and now has more than 14,000 locations in the U.S (about as many as McDonald's) and says it will have opened about 1,285 this year.

A new Dollar General has just opened on Rt. 23 South near the 645 intersection. And a new Family Dollar has located a little further South.

There are Dollar Generals in urban and suburban areas, but its expansion strategy is to put stores in rural areas that can't support a big-box store and offer reasonably-priced items rural residents to which might not otherwise have quick access, Frank Morris reports for NPR.

"They serve a part of the country that Walmart doesn't serve directly," Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Director Al Cross told Morris. "You have to maybe drive 20 miles to get to a Walmart. You might only have to drive 5 miles to get to a Dollar General."

DOLLAR GENERAL FAMILY DOLLAR STORES compete head to head in small and large markets alike.DOLLAR GENERAL FAMILY DOLLAR STORES compete head to head in small and large markets alike.

But Dollar General and competitors Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, are putting the squeeze on rural grocery stores like one in Moville, Iowa, a town of 1,600. After the town's last grocery burned down in 2008, residents pooled their money to rebuild and asked local grocery chain owner Chet Davis to step in and operate the new store. But Davis says Chet's Foods lost a third of his sales after Dollar General came to town, and he might not be able to stay open.

Davis is trying hard to keep the store afloat. He "negotiated a rent reduction earlier this year with the community development group that townspeople funded to reopen a store. The group leases the space to him," Barbara Soderlin reports for the Omaha World-Herald. And Davis opened a dollar section at his store and cut employee hours, but now he says he's asking for a second rent reduction and says he'll have to make a decision about closing in early 2018.

Though the Moville dollar store might sink Chet's Foods because of its convenience items, Chet's offers things Dollar General doesn't have in its traditional stores, such as fresh meat, dairy and produce. If Chet's closes, the closest grocery store is 20 miles west in Sioux City. But Dollar General is competing directly with full-service groceries with Dollar General Market stories, mainly in the region around its Nashville headquarters.

Small-town leaders have mixed feelings about Dollar General; some worry that it could hurt local businesses, but if they have local sales taxes, they are also tempted by tax revenue. The typical Dollar General store generates about $1.6 million in sales a year, Soderlin reports, but the biggest part of its sales comes from food, which is tax-exempt in most states. Locally owned grocery stores circulate more revenue back into the community than a dollar store, as well as bumping up local housing values.

Written by Heather Chapman 


Date: 12-12-2017

Kentucky gave $15M to a manufacturer. Now, one of its investors is raising money for Bevin

Braidy Industries graphic Braidy Industries graphic


FRANKFORT, Ky. – Investor Charles Price hosted a lucrative fundraiser for Gov. Matt Bevin a few months after the governor announced that Braidy Industries, a company at which Price is a director, would receive an unusual $15 million state investment. 

Price is listed as “sponsor” of a September fundraiser that raised $68,000 for Bevin's 2015 gubernatorial campaign in reports filed Friday with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

The event is one of the largest fundraisers for Bevin during the past year and raised nearly 10 percent of the total amount Bevin reported raising during the past year.

Bevin’s 2015 campaign committees were highly active through the past year, the reports show. The committees remain open because they still owe more than $4 million in loans to Bevin, who largely financed his own campaign.

Reports for Bevin's primary and general election committees filed on Friday show that from Nov. 12, 2016, through Dec. 1, 2017, the committees raised $718,547 and spent $96,070. As of Dec. 1, they had a combined balance of $763,071 on hand.

The reports show no repayments to Bevin during the period. They do show the only remaining debts or obligations of the committees are loans from Bevin in 2015 totaling $4.12 million.

Braidy Industries is a privately held firm that Bevin announced last spring will build a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill near Ashland. Taxpayers own about 20 percent of the company thanks to the $15 million upfront investment orchestrated by Bevin in the final days of the 2017 legislative session.

Braidy founder Craig T. Bouchard, who owns another 20 percent, has identified Price as an investor but will not name others.

Bevin and Bouchard April of 2017. C/J photo.Bevin and Bouchard April of 2017. C/J photo.Price is the chief executive of Charah LLC, a Louisville-based company involved in recycling and disposing of waste from coal-fired power plants. He and his wife are listed in Friday’s report as each giving the maximum $2,000 to Bevin’s 2015 campaign, as are several other officials of Charah.

Bevin's communications staff did not immediately return an email or phone call Monday morning seeking comment. Price did not immediately return a phone message left at Charah offices.

Price’s was not the only large fundraiser for the governor’s 2015 campaign. Reports show that on Dec. 1, the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors sponsored an event in Frankfort that raised $79,050.

Other large fundraising events for Bevin during the year were hosted by Jim Ellis, a Louisville attorney, which raised $108,950; and Billy Harper, of Paducah, which raised $85,250.

The campaign’s expenses show the committee paid $5,000 per month in salary to its treasurer, plus about $835 per month for voter databases to a company called Nationbuilder in Los Angeles.

Other smaller expenses were paid for printing, postage, photography, catering and a valet service.

By Tom Loftus
Louisville Courier Journal


December 11, 2017


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin has made the following appointments to Kentucky Boards and Commissions:

Deborah Craft, Bobby McCool, Howard Roberts and Charles Arnett have been appointed to the BIG SANDY COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.



Deborah Craft, of Paintsville, is a retired special education teacher. She will serve for a term expiring Dec. 9, 2022.

Bobby McCool, of Van Lear, is director of the Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce. He will serve for a term expiring Dec. 9, 2023.

Dr. Howard Roberts, of Pikeville, is Dean of the Coleman College of Business at the University of Pikeville. He will serve for a term expiring Dec. 9, 2023.

Dr. Charles Arnett, of Prestonsburg, is a physician with the Floyd County Health Department. He will serve for a term expiring Dec. 9, 2023.


Big Sandy Community & Technical College, located in Prestonsburg, is one of 16 two-year, open-admissions institutions of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS).