In strip-mall surprise, Dollar General coming to Dallas Center

Strip development took a step forward in Dallas Center Tuesday night, when the city council approved plans for a Dollar General to be constructed across Iowa Highway 44 from the Raccoon Valley Bank.

The Dallas Center City Council, following the recommendations of the city’s planning and zoning commission, voted Tuesday night to approve a survey, site plan and architectural plan for construction of a Dollar General on the northeast corner of Iowa Highway 44 and R Avenue, across the highway from the Raccoon Valley Bank.

Plans for the 90,000-square-foot parcel call for a 9,100 square-foot Dollar General building, including 55 parking spots. The store will offer driveway access only off Fair View Drive (R Avenue) and not off Iowa Highway 44 (Sugar Grove Avenue).

The Dollar General Corp. is headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tenn, and operates, as of July 2018, some 15,000 stores in the continental U.S., including 188 stores in Iowa. The corporation’s revenues in 2017 exceeded $21 billion.

The city-annexed property is owned by Hope K. Farms LLC, which is owned by Reza Kargarzadeh, owner of Engineered Plastic Components Inc., an injection molding manufacturer with headquarters in Grinnell and plants in nine states.

The council received an update on the project at Tuesday’s meeting from Bob Veenstra of Veenstra and Kimm, Dallas Center’s engineering consultant, and from Tim Day, director of business development for Engineered Plastic Components Inc. and for Hope K. Farms LLC.

Day said Hope K. Farms LLC “anticipates developing at least two more commercial lots to the east of the Dollar General parcel.”

Veenstra discussed the possible need for a code variance for larger storefront signage, and he noted other issues still to be settled, such as consent from Hope K. Farms LLC for stormwater discharge at northeast corner of property and any possible arrangements for shared access to the Hope K. Farms LLC property to the east of the Dollar General parcel.

Some of the preliminary legalities were effected at the July 9 council meeting, when the city leaders approved the voluntary annexation of the Hope K. Farms LLC parcel into the city and rezoned the parcel from agricultural to highway/auto-oriented business zoning district. The unanimous votes followed public hearings at which no public comments were heard.

The council in July also created the Fair View Drive benefited sanitary sewer district and approved a bid of $235,964 from Thorpe Water Development to build a sewer extension under Iowa Highway 44 from the south. No comments were received at the public hearings, and the resolutions passed unanimously.

Local reactions to the Dollar General news were decidedly mixed on Facebook.

“This is more of a positive than a negative for the town,” said Jamie Lynn Bruggeman. “I go to Dollar General weekly on Saturday for the $5 savings, not to mention regular digital coupons. The things I buy aren’t that much more expensive than Walmart or Hyvee.”

Some commenters pledged allegiance to the locally owned outlet.

“Love Bakers Pantry,” said Margie Kenyon. “They have built a great business for DC. They have helped me a lot and saved trips out of town.” Others echoed Kenyon’s opinion.

“I will always support Bakers Pantry,” said April Dawn Beck. “They have quality food items, and I will always go to them for many staples as well as other specialty items.”

As is almost always the case, not everyone was thrilled at the prospective development.

“Just another junkie store offering terrible service,” said Kelvin Morgan. “Dallas Center can do much better than this!”

Linda Licht hit a similar note when she said, “Yuck. I HATE stores like this. They sell a lot of junk. And then after a few years, it will be another empty building.”

Jane Lister Meggers agreed, saying, “Dollar Stores and their ilk are a bane on society and on our landfills, too, as that is where all their crap ends up. So much junk all made in China and with the tarriffs will probably have to change their name to $5 stores anyway. In small towns they have driven out local businesses, especially grocery stores. Not to mention ugly stores built as cheaply as their merchandise.”

Yet Meggers’ magic word, “cheap,” has been the key to the success of our Walmarts and Dollar Generals. It appears nothing trumps low price in the opinion of the low-wage majority.

“Just the beginning . . . ,” said Gordon Malone cryptically.


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