New Dollar General

A new Dollar General is expected to open this week in northern Oconee County near Bogart, with an appearance similar to the one planned for Good Hope.

If Dollar General follows through with plans to build in Good Hope, there will be a store for not even one per 10,000 people in Walton County.

The store proposed for Queens Cemetery Road at Georgia 83 would be the ninth in Walton County. Four have Monroe addresses and four have Loganville addresses, and a Social Circle store is just beyond the line in Newton County.

Dollar General spokeswoman Laura Somerville confirmed the Tennessee company is in the “due diligence phase” for a new store in Good Hope. The City Council has approved a variance on parking and a zoning change to clear the way for the store.

A group of citizens met Monday to plot a course for opposing the store, citing fears of higher traffic, more litter and an uptick in crime.

Somerville said there’s been no commitment yet from her company, but she hopes to make a final decision by the middle of fall.

She said the top priority is “meeting customers’ needs” when choosing locations for a new store.

That apparently brought Dollar General near the middle of Good Hope, across from the town’s park.

“The company looks for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice,” she said. “We know convenience is a major factor in our customers’ shopping decisions as we generally serve customers within a 3- to 5-mile radius, or 10-minute drive.

“We also take demographic trends, competitive factors, traffic patterns and community concerns into consideration.”

Community concerns definitely have been an issue in recent days. Wade Edmondson, co-owner of the Good Hope General Store, has been among the people circulating a petition trying to get the Dollar General stopped. As of Monday, he said there were 100 or more signatures gathered, although it wasn’t clear if all were from citizens of Good Hope.

He showed fellow Good Hope-area residents pictures of other Dollar General stores and said they showed potential problems, and said he’s researched incident reports from law enforcement.

“Who knows how much goes on that’s not reported?” he said.

Some neighbors also said they’re afraid of decreased property values.

But the company said it gives back to the community, and Thursday announced nearly $250,000 in literacy grants to Georgia nonprofit organizations, libraries and schools, all operating within 20 miles of a Dollar General store.

Among them: $2,000 to the O’Kelley Memorial Library in Loganville.

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