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Why we oppose dollar stores

To the editor:

A Wilmington reader recently attributed objections to a proposed Dollar General store to outsiders. He welcomes the new store as a modern convenience, where one could buy (imported) “T-shirts, flowerpots and socks,” just like they supposedly do to pass rainy days in Keeseville.

Objections to dollar stores involve the negative effects upon on locally owned businesses and degradation to small-town aesthetics, well documented in articles by the Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere. For instance, the nearby Little Supermarket can expect a 10-30% loss of sales. Profit margins would also vanish as local stores are forced to compete with Dollar General’s vast wholesale network.

Profits generated from dollar stores won’t remain in the community, as they do with the small businesses they displace. This sets up a cascading economic effect, which is why dollar stores are considered a cause, not effect, of local economic decline. The proof is in the closed local businesses near most dollar stores — as evidenced in AuSable Forks, Port Henry and Keeseville.

Seasonal residents and tourists seeking respite from poor urbanism naturally object to the presence of unsightly, corporate-owned dollar stores. They’ll equate them with the run-down neighborhoods such places facilitate, and will go elsewhere. Permanent Wilmington residents don’t have that freedom.

Many of us in neighboring towns would be saddened to see Wilmington make an irreversible mistake. We urge you to weigh the convenience of buying a cheap frozen pizza or cellphone against ruining your town’s unique charm. I suppose we neighbors could be selfish — if they put a dollar store over there, maybe they won’t put one here.

Frank Pagano

Jay

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