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Tulsa Says No More Dollar General, Curbing Exploitation of Black Neighborhoods

If you want to see what it looks like to enact food policy at the neighborhood level, these residents can show you. They fought for true municipal food sovereignty–and won.

To the chagrin of the grocery industry and public health advocates, Dollar General—the chain of 13,000 low-cost variety stores—has become rural America’s grocer of choice.

Where hypermarkets, namely Walmart, have failed to gain traction in selling food to rural consumers, Dollar General has succeeded with a different approach: small stores selling, almost exclusively, consumer packaged goods at rock-bottom prices.

Here’s the low-overhead formula: fewer staff, less floor space, and no perishables. That model has spurred rapid growth for the chain in 44 of our 48 contiguous states, particularly in areas that have been slow to recover from the recession. Business is brisk, the company’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal in December, as households get poorer.

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