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How DG Market Is Filling Fresh Food Gaps

Dollar General talks exclusively to Progressive Grocer about its format that provides low-priced offerings across more categories, including produce, dairy and meat
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
DG Market produce
Dollar General sells produce in more than 5,000 locations, including this store in Greenbrier, Tenn.

In one of its early annual reports, Dollar General emphasized the crux of its community presence and how geography plays into its service model: “We’ve always lived in small towns, always done business in small towns, and we’re their kind of people…We’re country folks and we intend to stay that way, even though we think we’re doing a big-city job of merchandising.”

Flash forward to today, when the company continues to expand into small towns and remote communities. Earlier in 2024, Dollar General hit key milestones, opening its 20,000th store at its DG Market location in Alice, Texas, and offering fresh produce in 5,000 locations. The retailer’s DG Market format is on the march, providing a variety of produce, refrigerated and frozen food products, fresh meats, and dairy items to new and different markets around the United States. 

On June 29, the retailer held a grand opening for a DG Market in Screven, Ga., a remote part of southeast Georgia, where the nearest grocery store is about 30 minutes away by car. Several elected officials were on hand for the event in the town of nearly 800 residents.

[RELATED: Dollar Stores Get Serious About Private Label Investments]

Located at 215 W J L Tyre Street, the new Screven outpost is similar to other DG Market stores that combine Dollar General’s traditional discounted merchandise with affordable groceries. Progressive Grocer recently got an exclusive tour of a DG Market store in Greenbrier, Tenn., near the Dollar General corporate headquarters in Goodlettsville.  

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“People use it as a one-stop-shop for everything. The majority of our stores are located in areas with 20,000 or fewer residents in the community,” Katie Ellison, director of public relations at Dollar General, told PG during that store visit.

Ellison pointed to lower prices across a range of fresh, frozen and shelf-stable foods, along with other household staples, which resonate with customers on limited budgets. “Consumers are looking for deals and shopping a multiple stores. It’s a little bit of everything,” she said, adding that Dollar General’s DG Market is able to provide competitively-priced groceries to shoppers in rural markets because of its business model and supplier relationships. 

That pivotal food security was underscored in other recent DG Market openings in Syracuse, N.Y. The stores now service consumers in what had been considered a food desert in the Southside part of that city.

Up next: a DG Market that is set to open in late summer or early fall in Silver Lake, Kan. “We are the first retailer ever in that community,” reported Ellison.

As of May 3, Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operated 20,149 Dollar General, DG Market, DGX and pOpshelf stores across the United States, and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico. The company is No. 17 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2024 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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