Proposed store would be bad for community
May 16, 2019
To The Eagle:
For those of you who aren't aware, Zaremba group LLC has proposed to construct a Dollar General store on Highway 4 at Jacobson Road. First of all it is not a dollar store where everything is a dollar or less like a Dollar Tree. They are not a general store either. They are a discount retailer that sells items such as groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, health and beauty, alcohol, cigarettes ,and many have a Redbox video rental as well. Dollar General is the fastest growing outlet in the United States. They currently have none in Washington State. Dollar General stores are betting that we as a whole are going to have a permanent underclass in America. They make a killing in vulnerable communities like ours as they take over the market and make it impossible for local businesses to compete. When that happens and local businesses suffer and possibly shut down, a "food desert" is created.
Stores like Dollar General ensure people living in the area they target will struggle even more to access healthy food. There is growing evidence that these stores are not merely a by product of economical distress, they are the cause of it. In small towns and neighborhoods like these Dollar General stores are the leading cause of grocery stores to close. Research shows that a typical grocery store experiences a 30 percent drop in sales after a Dollar General store opens nearby. They also make it impossible for new stores or other local businesses to take root and grow.
They will tell you they create jobs. On average they only employ around eight people. Small independent grocery stores average 14. Cathlamet Market currently employees 11 plus the owner. Also to consider are how many employees there are in town at the pharmacy, the coffee shop, and all the other small businesses in town.
I am talking about our friends and neighbors.
Also of concern are the businesses on the highway including the video store, gas station and existing general store. All of these businesses would be undercut by Dollar General.
Profits from local businesses go back to the community. Significant profits from a Dollar General go back to their corporate office in Tennessee. A Dollar General store at this location would give people less incentive to pull off the highway into Cathlamet.
Another major concern is its close proximity to the high school where students on their lunch break and after school can venture over to Dollar General. This involves crossing a major state highway which is dangerous and can increase the chance of a student being struck and killed.
If you are at all concerned about Dollar General coming into your community and ruining your town and your friends and family jobs and businesses, you do have a say. It is not a done deal. They need a substantial conditional use/variance permit in order to build. You have until June 2 to express your interest or concerns to the Wahkiakum Building Dept., PO Box 97, Cathlamet. From that point the Building Department sends the information to the county planning commission which will hold a public meeting. They in turn will make a recommendation to the county commissioners who will also have a public meeting or meetings. At all open public meetings, you have a say in all of this.
Information on this application can be found in the public notices published in Wahkiakum Eagle May 2 issue. Do your own research. There is plenty of information on the Internet. Decide if this is the way you want your community to go.