Thursday, February 4, 2016
By Kacie Svoboda
On Monday night, the Planned Unit Development (PUD) proposed by Vaquero Ventures, which would include a Dollar General store, was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission in a vote of 4-1. This authorization came after Vasquero brought forth a plan that would include 40 parking spaces, bringing the lot to just shy of the 43 spaces mandated in city parking requirements. The other issue of changing the town’s setback requirement from 25 to 10 feet was proven consistent with past requests.
As one more hurdle is cleared on the path to opening a Dollar General, Hill City residents seem to be falling into two positions. Some believe it would be a useful addition to the town, filling a gap in locally available goods. Others are concerned the Dollar General would cut into the profits of existing businesses, such as Krull’s Market and Hardware Hank's.
However, Doak Raulston of Vaquero Ventures argued that a Dollar General store could help local businesses. “What we’ve found is that when Dollar General goes into a town, you tend to see a trend where people want to get all their shopping done locally,” he said. “It encourages them to stay in town to shop.”
Dollar General carries health and beauty supplies, toys, cleaning products, everyday household goods, some foodstuffs and apparel for men, women and children. Food items account for approximately 10-15 percent of store merchandise and consist mainly of snack and convenience products with no produce available. The company operates just less than 12,000 stores in 43 states in the Southern, Southwestern, Midwestern and Eastern areas of the country.
“The Black Hills are part of Dollar General’s expansion into the West,” explained Raulston. “It (the Dollar General corporation) believes it’s the perfect demographic. Hill City doesn’t have anything like it in town.
The property for the PUD is currently owned by Rodney Alexander. Alexander bought the land on the southern edge of Hill City’s limits to sell commercially, but is also concerned about Dollar General’s impact on local businesses.
“We just cannot stop our little town from growing,” he commented. “You’ve got two ways to go — upward or you’re going down. But I would be interested in public opinion.”
To help gauge local attitudes on the issue, the public is encouraged to go to HillCityPrevailerNews.blogspot.com and vote in the online poll.