County considering banning future Dollar Generals

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Cutline: Dollar General Stores are currently in 11 locations in Panola County.

No new Dollar General stores or gas stations will be allowed in the unincorporated areas of Panola County if the Board of Supervisors adopt a moratorium discussed at Monday’s regular meeting of the board at the Sardis Courthouse.

Board President Cole Flint started the discussion, proposing to fellow board members that the county finds a legal avenue to implement the ban.

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“I want us to look at finding a way to not allow any new construction of Dollar General type stores, if they are not replacing an existing one,” Flint said. “I think we have eleven in the county now and another eight of the Family Dollar and Dollar Tree type stores.”

The rapid construction of convenience stores around the county, some near stations that have been in operation for years, is also harming the business outlook, Flint said.

“This Mike’s is building gas stations, they are beautiful stations, great stations, but he’s building them on top of existing businesses,” Flint said. “So we are canceling one business for a shiny new business, and it’s killing our small business guys that are trying to keep going.”

Flint said he was reluctant to bring up the matter because his general attitude toward new business ventures is “the more the merrier” but the stores built in the last year appear to be putting others out of business and not adding many jobs.

Supervisor Chad Weaver agreed, saying, ““ I think we need to put a lot of thought into it. It’s very, very touchy when you have business wanting to come in, but I agree that every time you put up something new and shiny you hurt the man that’s already been there and established,” Weaver said.

“Once the new wears off this one then you let them build another one two hundred yards down the road and it’s the same effect once again,” he said.

Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar also spoke about a possible moratorium, pointing out that Dollar General’s mission is to cut off traffic to WalMart stores with their strategic placement plans.

“That would be horrible for us to lose our WalMart,  and we are definitely ;putting our Wal Mart in jeopardy,” Azar said. “I don’t think there is room for any more Dollar Generals in our county, but I said that four Dollar Generals ago.”

Other cities and counties have taken similar measures against the growth of Dollar General in particular. The supervisors asked Board Attorney Gaines Baker to meet with Azar’s office about the language and intentions of a moratorium, and bring their findings to a future meeting.

Any bans adopted by the supervisors would affect only areas in the unincorporated parts of Panola County and would have no control over areas inside any city or town limits.