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Neighbors in Welcome aren't welcoming a proposed new Dollar General

A Dollar General store
Colin Campbell
A Dollar General store

Davidson County commissioners will hold a hearing in January on a controversial new Dollar General store.

The Tennessee-based dollar store chain wants to build a new location in the Welcome community between Lexington and Winston-Salem. But neighbors along Old U.S. Highway 52 aren't welcoming the store.

Neighbors of the proposed site are asking county leaders to vote no on the store. They argue that the store could lead to crime and traffic accidents on a busy road that also has a school bus stop. One homeowner told the planning commission that she's concerned about noise and people staring into her home, as well as a negative effect on property values.

And the neighbors share what's been a common complaint about the expansion of dollar stores — there's already a Dollar General location about a mile up the road. That one is in a Food Lion shopping center, which the neighbors say is a more appropriate location. It's one of about 10 Dollar General stores in northern Davidson County.

The chain has more than doubled its number of stores across North Carolina since 2008. Dollar General plans to open 800 new stores across the country in 2024, and North Carolina already has more locations than most other states. The chain opened nearly 1,000 new locations in 2023, according to an earnings report.

Developers told the Davidson County planning commission that the new Welcome location will be a larger format that sells fresh produce. It's unclear whether the nearby shopping center store would close after the new one is built.

The planning commission voted in November to approve the store, noting that the site is in an area targeted for economic growth. County commissioners will have the final say after a Jan. 8 public hearing.

Colin Campbell covers politics for WUNC as the station's capitol bureau chief.
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