Dollar General gives Palisade second try
One year after plans fell through for a Dollar General development in Palisade, the retailer has a second shot at moving to the small town.
Tennessee-based GBT Realty Corp. has a contract on a piece of land off Elberta Avenue south of Peach Bowl Park and north of the Palisade Pharmacy at 707 37 3/10 Road, Unit B, according to Palisade Town Administrator Rich Sales. Sales said town board members recently learned GBT Vice President of Development Bob Gage will host an informational meeting about the discount store proposal at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Palisade Veterans Memorial Community Center.
Sales said he first heard the real estate development, leasing and management company may develop a Dollar General on the site about six weeks ago. He said the site near Palisade’s U.S. Highway 6 corridor may be a more convenient spot for Dollar General than the town-owned site north of the railroad tracks west of Main Street where another Tennessee developer, Franklin Land Associates LLC, considered placing a Dollar General last year.
“We’ve been having discussions about a master plan for the highway corridor. The thought that the highway may become our retail area has been very well supported in public meetings,” Sales said. “(The new site) keeps downtown a mom and pop ownership area with smaller stores. That should give a little bit of what everybody in the community wants.”
J.C. Brigham, a member of the Citizens for Smart Growth group that objected to the first Dollar General proposal, said she doesn’t want a Dollar General anywhere in town. The group’s concern this time and last time remains the same, she said: that the store may funnel customers away from downtown and end more jobs than it creates. The last Dollar General proposal included 20 positions, according to Franklin Land Associates, but Brigham said Dollar General’s most recent annual report states the average Dollar General has five or more employees.
“The same risks still apply. It’s going to have a huge impact on (local grocer) Family Food Town, the hardware store, the pharmacy,” Brigham said.
Town officials told The Daily Sentinel shortly after Franklin Land Associates pulled plans for a Palisade Dollar General that the decision was based on unfavorable revenue projections for the proposed store and not because of Citizens for Smart Growth’s campaign. Brigham said she doesn’t understand why a Dollar General idea is being floated again when the town’s economy hasn’t changed much since that mid-May 2011 announcement. She said the yard signs are coming out again, an email campaign to GBT is on, and members of the group plan to attend Wednesday’s meeting.
“We try not to be unreasonable people because when you get into all that name calling stuff it doesn’t really help,” she said. “We’re just trying to challenge them, to get it in their minds it’s not something the town wants.”
Calls to Gage’s office number were not returned Wednesday or Thursday.