Dollar General: A lifeline for Edgard’s small community

Published 5:30 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

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In March 2019, the arrival of a Dollar General store marked a significant change for Edgard, offering not only a shopping destination but also a lifeline to its residents.

The opening of Edgard’s Dollar General brought with it an array of everyday essentials and affordable goods, as well as providing jobs to the small town.

For lifelong Edgard resident Mayta Samuel, the store has become an indispensable part of her daily life. 

“I go to the Dollar General at least three or four times a week,” Mayta said. “If you need school supplies or household supplies without having to burn a lot of gas and waste a lot of time, it’s very convenient having the dollar store where if I need something, I can just go get it in five minutes.”

Mayta’s sentiment is echoed by many in Edgard, including Olita Samuel, another resident who has embraced the arrival of the Dollar General. According to Olita, the store has established itself as more than simply a place to shop.

“It’s a family-oriented place, like a community store,” said Olita. “Most of the time when you go there, you don’t leave because you’re in the aisle talking. I think it’s a beautiful place for everybody.”

Katie Ellison, Dollar General’s public relations senior manager, said that what sets Dollar General apart from other retailers is its commitment to serving underserved communities like Edgard. 

“Adding a dollar store to a community brings positive economic impact,” Ellison said. “Local jobs, we employ a lot of really great local residents, community benefits, access to affordable household and food items.”

According to Ellison, approximately 80% of Dollar General stores are in communities with 20,000 or fewer people, focusing on those low and fixed-income households that are underserved by others. According to a 2020 census, Edgard inhabits less than 2,000 residents.

“Being that small box retailer, we try to carefully curate those necessities, those everyday essentials that people need as well as those fun items, whether it’s seasonal decor, gift wrap, birthday cards,” Ellison said. “Just a lot of little things where a lot of people purchase things online, but a lot of people need something right now.”

In Edgard, most stores close around 7 p.m., making Dollar General a place where people can buy something in a pinch without having to drive far.

“At night, if you need something really fast for your headache or something, it’s very convenient,” said Olita.

For the people of Edgard, this “something right now” could be as simple as a snack for a hungry student or supplies for a teacher’s classroom. 

“I had talked to some of our store team members yesterday, and they were saying that particular store is just up the street from the local high school,” said Ellison. “So they have a lot of the teachers there from the high school that’ll pop in the store on their way to school, whether they need supplies for the classroom or snacks or whatever it may be. They see a lot of that. So I think it provides convenient access for those last-minute unplanned needs.”

However, Dollar General as a corporation goes beyond commerce, investing a lot of its time in community service. 

“I think the biggest thing is our mission of serving others. We believe in our mission wholeheartedly, both for serving our customers, our communities, and our employees,” said Ellison. “And so we have a really intense focus on our customers, and that’s what differentiates ourselves from other retailers.”

As Edgard continues to evolve, Dollar General remains a steadfast companion, making life a little easier and a lot more enjoyable for its residents.