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A Dollar General in Inglewood: A Letter of Discouragement

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Recently, I was made aware that developers proposed to build a Dollar General in our neighborhood. So, I was invited to email our councilwoman. Here’s what I said.

Karen,

I’m on the FB Burrus Neighbors group, I live off Baxter Ave, just on the corner of Gillock (across from the guy with the Obama signperhaps you’ve seen).

I’m 29, an entrepreneur, passionate about design + education, and community development. My MFA thesis was a project called Design a Better Nashville, which was a potential campaign in partnership with the Civic Design Center, focus on social-driven awareness of community development, giving people a chance to provide direct input on the community, projects + even jumpstart projects. So, I’ve thought about a few things like this beforeif you’d like to view it, you’re welcome to.

As a resident, and potential (someday) father and husband, I want to invest into a community and see small businesses flourish. My company recently finished a brand design for a ‘think local’ concept, and is finishing the website for an April 17th launch. You’ll be seeing it around middle Tennessee for sure, called myTown.

Overall, If you can’t tell, I’m passionate about small business, sustainability, and the economy. Local economy. Here’s what I know:

WHY LOCAL BUSINESS IT MATTERS

By choosing to support local business (founded by individuals within the community, you not only get great personal serviceand value, you also help strengthen our local community and economy. Here’s a great info-graphic that shows what happens with the local dollar.

(Source: Local Works! Examining the impact of local business, acivic economics study for Local First, Grand Rapids Michigan)

I’m discouraged to hear that we would potentially put a Dollar General, and I would like to strongly speak against it. Here’s 3 great reasons why not to build a Dollar General.

#1 A DOLLAR GENERAL IS NOT LOCAL BUSINESS.

Yeah, sure the owner lives in that nice green farm off of concord road with the fences and horses, and is a “local organization,” right? Not quite. While its headquartered here, this monolith of discounts not only wholesales and retails items shipped from all across the country making profits from low-cost goods, its nothing more than a low-end big box store. Walmart’s unfortunate cheap alternative. What’s worse is that Dollar General knows its cheaper to build new than it is to remodel and take care of the Trinity Lane / Gallatin location. Inexcusable.

#2 A DOLLAR GENERAL DOESN’T BUILD COMMUNITY.

The reputation a Dollar General brings for low income housingresidents, and lower-income areas is not positive. Its sending a message on concession to the community of “yes, we have one of those,” and allowing the standards of quality and presentation down the drain. Want to position inglewood for growth? Fight for a Publix, a Chic-Fil-A near Briley or a Starbucks. Higher-end purchases with a positive reputation. We already have enough cash-checking businesses and pawn shops.

#3 A DOLLAR GENERAL IT DOESN’T POSITION INGLEWOOD FOR THE FUTURE:

Inglewood is a “nicer “part of East Nashville. And while that may seem subjective, the 37216 statistics show that the majority of residents are constituents higher than the $30k-a year income level, with 4-6 bedroom homes, and a college degree. The statistics show a growing population of younger families, gentrified areas, and developing real estate. I don’t know any young married families that would be caught dead in a Dollar General. In fact, that’s their fear. Why is that?

Similar to what was done to downtown during its former redevelopment (focus on night clubs, and single folks) DT nashville now suffers as those short term lifestyle goals fell short. It learned and now has to focus on tourism more heavily, as those families now are seeking elsewhere to entertain. Likewise, Inglewood needs to be positioned for the future. With commerce, education, and local municipal design and development seeking the greater good of the constituents.

Building a Dollar General simply says that our town is pretty much worth, in general, a dollar. Or less.

I look forward to your interactions and continued conversation.

Sincerely,

Stven Frey

I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

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