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Dollar General interested in Marion

Staff writer

Dollar General has expressed interest in opening a store along the south side of US-56 in Marion next year.

Economic Development Director Terry Jones announced at Monday’s city council meeting that Dollar General wants to be located at the corner of Industrial Road and US-56.

Dollar General, which operates a store in Hillsboro, will pay $1 for the lot and has made the purchase of the land contingent on the city’s agreeing that no other low-cost major retailer occupy any of the adjacent lots.

The city and Dollar General representatives have been talking for more than a year about a Marion store, City Administrator Larry Holter said. Just recently, the company has empowered its development group, which handles all the property acquisition and engineering.

“The big highway frontage is the big motivator there,” Holter said.

Dollar General, which has more than 11,500 stores in 40 states, has made the deal contingent on Marion not allowing any of its competitors into the industrial park, including any dollar or 99 cent stores, Deals, Big Lots, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and any Wal-Mart concept.

The retail sales portion of the business park had been planned for north of the highway. However, the older population in town has safety concerns crossing U.S. 56 to shop, Holter said.

Ace Hardware on the north and Dollar General to the south might create a shopping environment the city could capitalize on.

“It may enable us to lower the speed limit because of retail operations straddling a U.S. highway,” Holter said. “And if we can get folks to slow down it’s a whole lot easier to make the Eisenhower or Cedar or Industrial turn into our community to come downtown.”

The city will also waive its utility hookup fees for Dollar General. Although the sewer and water lines are already at the property line, the city will spend between $4,000 and $6,000 on three utility poles and a new transformer in order to bring electrical services to the property line.

The city still hopes to attract a lodging facility for the industrial park, Jones said.

Dollar General qualified for a free lot by scoring well on the city’s incentive grading scale, which measures taxable sales and whether the company banks locally, among other factors.

A Dollar General store would employ between six and 10 employees and sell about $1.5 million worth of merchandise a year, Jones said.

Dollar General could take up to 180 days to make a final decision on whether to build a store in Marion.

Dollar General corporate executives will make the final decision for a Marion store on Jan. 14, Jones said. If all goes well, construction crews could break ground for the new store in February.

“It’s a pretty quick process,” Jones said.

Last modified Dec. 11, 2014

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