Ebony is located in southern Brunswick County, VA - en route to Lake Gaston from I-85
There are places where a Dollar General may be helpful and desirable -- and perhaps even built in a manner that fits in and can accommodate the increase in traffic; the Ebony location is not one. It is "not needed, will simply be an eyesore, and will do harm on many levels". This is the sentiment expressed among the many who are opposing a Dollar General in Ebony.
While there are folks who love Dollar General "convenience and low pricing" and are not concerned about negative sides effects to the surrounding community, the overwhelming voice of Ebony, nearby communities including our Lake Gaston friends, and beyond are saying NO - loud and clear. Land use governance and VA statutes also say NO!
Opposing Dollar General in Ebony is not about opposing business in Ebony. There are businesses in Ebony -- that are compatible with the community. And it is not about Dollar General opposition in general; it's about the Ebony location. It is also about unchecked proliferation. It is about having business that fits the community with no harmful side-effects. That is why businesses in A-1 communities are intended to be approached using a Conditional Use Permit with restrictions and controls. If a business requires rezoning to B-1 it is a red flag that it is not appropriate for the community. This is the essence of land use management to control land use in a manner ensure intended benefits and to prevent unwanted negative side effects.
There is so much written about Dollar General's aggressive business model which seems to be targeting rural America in particular, perhaps in part because of non-existing or lax land use management. Communities across the country are now pushing back. We read that Dollar General's strategy is to build stores within 10 miles of each other all over the country. They simply need to find a willing land owner and willing local government to say yes.
Bringing Dollar General to the rural residential and agricultural community of Ebony will completely destroy its identity and character that has been preserved for more that 100 years -- as well as way of life for those living in close proximity to the proposed Dollar General. It will put our 2 local stores at risk.
Opposing Dollar General in the Ebony location is also not depriving proponents who wish to shop at Dollar General . There are now three Dollar Generals within 6 or 10 miles of this proposed setting in Ebony, plus a Family Dollar, Ace Hardward, DrugCo, and Food Lion within 6.5 miles. When you living in the country, you are dependent on transportation; very few folks walk anywhere.
It seems like there would be concern from existing Dollar Generals about how those stores' performance will be impacted. The unchecked proliferation of stores in close proximity are essentially competing for the same business (and staffing) and not growing new business. So where is the net increase to tax base that is touted for economic development?
When a store underperforms, it is closed and then what? The essence of the community will have already been destroyed and because the location is zoned business, there will be essentially no control on what may follow.
If the proposed store in Ebony were constructed and performs to the plan, it will generate 578 trip PER DAY - a traffic magnet right in the middle of neighboring homes, Prospect church and cemetery, and active farming! This would be destructive on many levels.
The alleged business development "benefits" for the County of bringing in Dollar General will be more than offset by the negative impacts to the community and its citizens.
Communities, like Ebony, are now stepping up to push back and add more rigor to assessing the fit for Dollar General in a community.
We are holding each other and our leadership accountable for considering the whole picture: looking at the true need, whether it is a fit for the location, and the overall cost and benefit to the community and county.
Sadly, 3 of 5 Brunswick County Supervisors elected to ignore the whole picture and voted on 1/29/20 to approve rezoning that opens the door for Dollar General in Ebony. An Appeal was filed on 2/28/20 and currently underway.
Morgan, MN: an article posted 3/2/23 in the New York Times: https://tinyurl.com/mr46b4h8
Halifax County, VA - Cluster Springs:
Orange County, VA - Barboursville:
Published online on 6/2/23:
This article is published in the print edition on Sunday, 6/4/23.
About the Article
Through a mutual third-party connection, IILR, Michael Corkery of the NY Times reached out to Anne Hartley in January 2023 to learn more about the Ebony Dollar General resistance fight and whether there is a story to write. After speaking for about an hour, they landed on a context that Anne was comfortable with: Community - and why there was so much energy around saving Ebony from Dollar General. She also said she did not want it to focus on her.
After Anne got their permission, Michael then began speaking with others who were part of the resistance and also to Jerry Jones and those who favored the Dollar General. It was important to Michael to write a balanced story. He visited Ebony and then sent a photographer to take pictures.
We thank Michael for the time he took to painstakingly assimilate a lot of information, get to know Ebony a bit, appreciate complex nuances, and deliver an article with the balance he needed while also trying to convey the substance of the positions - in a way that he felt would be of interest to readers. He seems to have a hit a homerun on that front! There are more than 600 comments so far on the online version. The article and Ebony is gaining national visibility.
CBS NEWS 12/8/2019: It's the latest struggle between Main Street and corporate America: Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have opened tens of thousands of retail outlets across the U.S., and in many rural areas they are the only game in town. Grocers say these stores have effectively forced them out of business, thereby reducing options for fresh food and produce for miles around. Special Contributor Allison Aubrey, of National Public Radio, reports. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dollar-stores-and-food-deserts-the-latest-struggle-between-main-street-and-corporate-america/
CBS NEWS 12/8/2019: , there are now more Dollar Stores in the U.S. than Starbucks and McDonald's combined – 30,000 of them!
How Communities Across the Country are Fighting Back