Dollar General going up on College

A new Dollar General is being built at the corner of College Avenue and 7th Street in El Dorado. (Caitlan Butler/News-Times)

The discount company Dollar General is expanding its footprint in El Dorado, as a new store is being built at the corner of College Avenue and 7th Street.

Robert Edmonds, director of public works for the City of El Dorado, confirmed on Wednesday that the company had been issued a building permit by the city.

The new store will be the eighth in the El Dorado area. Construction workers could be seen continuing dirt work that started about two weeks ago on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier this month, the company also announced plans for a new distribution center to be located in North Little Rock, and to expand its offerings of fresh fruit and vegetables to 5,000 stores by January.

"At Dollar General, we like to say we're America's general store, the neighborhood general store. And while we're not a grocer, we understand millions of Americans and their families rely on Dollar General to provide convenient access to affordable and nutritious foods," CEO Jeff Owen said at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 9.

According to reporting by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, more than 4,700 Arkansans are employed at 550 Dollar General stores across the state.

The retail giant has been the subject of memes in recent years, due to its widespread presence in rural America, particularly along desolate highways where no other businesses are located.

And not everyone is excited about the new store. Drew Cook, a resident of the neighborhood the new store is being built in, said he's not looking forward to the new shop.

"I think it'll be an eyesore," he said. "The convenience of having it across my driveway isn't worth having to look at it every day."

In the first quarter of 2023, Dollar General's net sales increased by 6.8% to $9.3 billion, up $500 million from the same period in 2022. The company spent $363 million in the same period on capital expenditures, opening 212 stores, relocating 22 more and remodeling 582.

According to its first quarter earnings report, Dollar General plans to open 990 more new stores this year, perform 2,000 remodels and relate 120 stores. The company expects to make additional capital expenditures of $1.6-$1.7 billion.