Communities Need Federal Help to Fight Dollar Store Encroachment

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c084a3dd-a76f-6bd8-6310-4b56a8da3fa3.jpgDear Readers,

Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree are expanding at a breakneck pace across urban neighborhoods and small towns alike. The evidence shows that these stores are not merely a symptom of economic distress — they’re a cause of it.

Today we published three new resources to help communities and policymakers grappling with the aggressive growth of these chains: a report, a strategy guide, and a compilation of the harms they cause. These new resources build on work we began in 2018, when we helped community leaders in Tulsa enact one of the first ordinances limiting dollar stores and then published a groundbreaking report on the topic.

The dollar chains are now facing a rising tide of local opposition. Since 2019, 75 cities and towns have defeated dollar store projects, many drawing on ILSR’s technical assistance.

Many of these places couldn’t be more different from one another. As I told the New York Times, whichcovered our findings in an exclusive: “As divided as Americans are politically, there’s remarkable agreement that too much of what passes as a legitimate business model is, in fact, fundamentally destructive and unfair.”

But as our new report makes clear, local action is not enough. The chains are using predatory tactics to drive out local grocers. Those tactics warrant action by federal policymakers. We hope you’ll join us in calling for change.

My best,


New Report: The Dollar Store Invasion

MARCH 1, 2023

78b8bfdc-74e5-2a2d-b656-d681785333ec.pngDollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar are spreading at an unprecedented rate, levying a devastating economic toll in cities and rural areas alike. In this new report, we examine the predatory tactics the chains use to drive grocery stores and other local retailers out of business and how they take advantage of marginalized communities, targeting rural towns and Black and Latino neighborhoods.

As the report details, dollar stores are facing a rising tide of local opposition. Since 2019, more than 70 cities and towns, of all stripes, have blocked their expansion. But to turn the tide, communities need federal action, especially stepped up enforcement of our antitrust laws. Read the report here.


Stop Dollar Stores in Your Community: A Strategy Guide

MARCH 1, 2023

8b307249-4d1e-3df6-2fb6-5f84a4e933bc.pngChain Dollar stores are spreading rapidly across the U.S., which is having devastating effects on local economies. But communities are successfully fighting back against dollar store proliferation. This guide can help you keep these chains out of your community so that the independent businesses that provide good jobs, customize products and services to meet people’s needs, support community institutions, and help shape the community’s personality can thrive and grow. Read the Strategy Guide here.


17 Problems: How Dollar Store Chains Hurt Communities

MARCH 1, 2023

e4cb4bca-7ef2-2853-5bd1-47d05c7af3f6.jpegCitizens and civic leaders have very good reasons to be concerned about chain dollar stores and their impacts on their communities. Here are 17 of the most common problems that chain dollar stores create. If your community is threatened by chain dollar store development, be sure your local officials are aware of these problems.


  • In the last three years, 500 new Dollar General locations have opened in North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. But one town escaped the plight. Residents in Sheltontown, NC fought against rezoning and development that would have turned a plot of land into a Dollar General store in an effort to save their town’s economic and cultural vitality.
From informing policymakers to shaping media coverage, ILSR’s research is
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