By AALLYAH WRIGHT for Capital B News | MAY 17, 2023

Some say the stores—disproportionately found in low-income, rural, and Black areas—stifle economic growth and job creation and exacerbate food insecurity.


For years, the Rev. Donald Perryman wondered why the formerly thriving Black downtown of Toledo, Ohio, couldn’t get a grocery store.

His suspicions were confirmed after a city study found in 2020 that the opening of new Dollar General stores drove other companies out of business, deterring potential grocers from investing there. He, along with a group of ministers, knew that in order to get a supermarket, they had to stop new chain dollar stores from plaguing their communities. They made great strides when the Toledo City Council passed a moratorium the same year that required new small-box retail stores to apply for a special-use permit.

The moratorium expired a year later, however — without the community’s knowledge — and a new Dollar General opened down the street from Perryman’s church on Dorr Street.

This month, the city proposed a $12 million project to construct a food incubation hub that would deliver fresh and healthy foods to local markets and low-income areas such as Dorr Street. Without renewed legislation, Perryman fears the threat of another dollar store could jeopardize the project, halting their years-long efforts.

Now, his coalition is pushing the city to ban these stores altogether.

The ongoing fight in Toledo represents one of many small-scale efforts nationwide to restrict Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which owns Family Dollar, the fastest-growing food retailers in the U.S. Some Black residents and elected officials argue the stores stifle economic growth and job creation, and exacerbate food insecurity. The stores are also disproportionately in areas that are low-income, rural, and Black, which experts say is racist.

“They’re like an invasive species. They overpower all the resources and make the businesses in those neighborhoods vulnerable. That’s where dollar stores can thrive,” Perryman, 70, said. “No matter what community, the cause of food deserts stem from one route, and that’s economic disinvestment in vulnerable communities.”

Read the rest of the story at Capital B News.