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Dollar General looking into third site in Alta Sierra

While construction on a Dollar General store on Nevada City Highway across from Grass Valley’s Fowler Center will be concluded before the end of the year, the nation’s largest small-box discount retailer also has had its sights on a location on Rough and Ready Highway.

And according to Dollar General spokesman Dan MacDonald, the company’s corporate office is now looking into a third site in Alta Sierra.

“It’s in due diligence, so it’s a maybe,” MacDonald said. “There hasn’t been a decision made whether or not to proceed, so it’s in the investigatory stage where we’re trying to determine if the demographics are right, and can we get the appropriate approvals to proceed from local government. But we are interested in a site in that area.”



MacDonald said while the actual parcel of land that the potential Alta Sierra site would be on has not been confirmed, Dollar General is looking into areas in and around the corner of Alta Sierra Drive and Little Valley Road, which has small businesses such as Mike’s Alta Sierra Market and Alta Sierra Pizza and Grill.

Nevada County Assistant Planner Joseph Scarbrough said Dollar General has approached the county with interest for specific retail property on the 10000 block of Alta Sierra Drive.




“At this point they did submit for the application of a use permit, but the application is not complete at this time so the application is not up for review currently. So it’s back on them right now, and I don’t have an idea when they will be approaching the county again.”

MacDonald said the Alta Sierra store would be a traditional 7,300 square-foot Dollar General, providing a wide assortment of frozen and refrigerated grocery items, beer, wine, cleaning and beauty supplies. MacDonald said Dollar General started to look into the feasibility of the Alta Sierra store in June.

“What will happen if it does look feasible, and we get all of the approvals, it will go from due diligence to an approved project,” MacDonald said.

“And then I’ll get a construction start date and all the timelines laid out. But right now, because they haven’t even decided to go for it or not, there’s nothing in front of me. But we should be able to determine whether it’s a viable site by early 2015.”

Several dollar stores in Nevada County have been constructed in recent years, including a Dollar Tree on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley, and a Dollar Store on Sutton Way.

While these stores bring a wider price and product selection for local consumers, concerns have been raised as to how these multi-service stores will affect existing businesses.

MacDonald said that Dollar General tends to be successful in areas like Grass Valley.

“It makes sense from a business perspective,” MacDonald said. “In general, our Dollar General stores have really been focused, really since it was founded, on serving the underserved. So our analysis of the market would tell us that there’s a need there for the general merchandise we sell, the convenience and the prices. And so we feel like there’s an opportunity there.”

According to MacDonald, Dollar General’s model and sweet spot has been building stores in rural and small towns, with 70 percent of their locations in communities with 20,000 residents or less, making Grass Valley a good fit for their business model.

“We’re very successful, and we tend to be a part of the fabric of small towns,” MacDonald said. “We look at a variety of things when we’re looking at a site, we look at demographics and population, and how many people would live within a 10-minute drive from the front door, all those kinds of things. We have a very loyal customer following in those places because of our selection, and our prices, and our convenience.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.


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