Dollar General to open by fall

Construction crews worked Monday on putting in concrete foundations at the new Dollar General site, located on Third Avenue SW in Milaca. The store is set to open in the fall. Times photo by Jeffrey Hage

Construction crews worked Monday on putting in concrete foundations at the new Dollar General site, located on Third Avenue SW in Milaca. The store is set to open in the fall.
Times photo by Jeffrey Hage

America’s largest “small-box” is coming to Milaca this fall.

Dollar General Corporation, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., is building a 7,200-square-foot retail store on the corner of Highway 23 and Third Avenue SW. The store will locate on the former site of a blue house once owned by Colleen Fitzgerald.

The house has already been razed, and the framework for the building will soon be on its way to taking shape. Before long the hustle and bustle of shoppers will be filling the aisles and checkout lanes of what will be Milaca’s first national chain store.

Dollar General has more than 10,000 stores in 40 states. There are currently 17 Dollar General Stores in Minnesota. The closest to Milaca are in Cambridge and North Branch. The company is presently building four stores in Minnesota — including the Milaca store, said Crystal Ghassemi, Public Relations manager for Dollar General Corp.

The company, which competes with Family Dollar, and to a lesser amount, Dollar Tree, tends to locate in smaller communities that wouldn’t attract a big-box retailer like Walmart. Milaca fit that bill, Ghassemi said.

While “Dollar” is in the Dollar General name, the store is not a “dollar store” that sells merchandise for just a buck.

Dollar General sells major label items made by Procter & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, Kellogg’s, General Mills and Nabisco — as well as its own private label merchandise under its “DG” brand, Ghassemi  said. This includes cleaning products under the DG Home name, DG Baby baby products, DG Health and DG Body products.

Dollar General’s interest in Milaca first became known in the fourth quarter of 2012, City Manager Greg Lerud said.

“Someone from Dollar General called doing a search for potential locations,” Lerud said.

“I pointed out the site and three others,” he said.

The Fitzgerald property, on a prime highway corner near the Milaca Schools buildings, was available because Colleen Fitzgerald was moving to China and had put the home on the market.

“Everything fell into place,” Lerud said.

Dollar General bought the property and then hired Dave’s Excavating of Foreston to tear down the house on the property. Dollar General also had to obtain a building permit through the city building inspector, but because the home was in an area zoned as a business district, no other action on the store had to go through the city or City Council, Lerud said.

It appeared that Dollar General had done its research on the Milaca zoning codes because when the plans arrived for the permitting process, they were fully complete and in compliance with city code, all the way down to the parking requirements.

Lerud is excited that Dollar General is coming to Milaca and is sure its residents will be, too.

“I’m glad to have them in town. They fill a need with something we really didn’t have here,” Lerud said.

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