DG Market Opens


Last updated 4/8/2024 at 6:25pm

The Dollar General Market opened its doors on April 5. The store is located on 672 Palm Canyon Drive, next to J&T Tire.

It was a quiet fanfare opening April 5 of the new Dollar General Market in Borrego Springs, located on Palm Canyon Drive, but it has finally happened.

After much controversy in the last few years about its opening, the store was all lit up and ready to welcome customers for business with shelves stocked (partially). At the time of press, delivery trucks were bringing inventory into the store, but the four checkout lanes in the store were busy, as well as the self checkouts. During the opening of the Dollar General Market, there were 10 employees, and it is anticipated there will be more.

The store sits on its mound as the largest retail outlet in town. Its current location, however, was not where it was originally proposed.

So, how Borrego Springs get here with the Dollar General Market?

– December 2019, during the closing of a Sponsor Group meeting, it was mentioned that one of the action items that would arise in upcoming meetings would be highly controversial, that was the possibility of a "Dollar Store" in Borrego, said to be located on Palm Canyon Drive across from the XL Gas Station. It had a B-designation by the County, and therefore not subject to Sponsor Group oversight or public input, but rather goes straight to the Building Department for approval. The SG is set up under County guidelines to provide advice and recommendations to developers who are building a "discretionary project," which the Dollar General is not. And the SG had no veto power on approval of any project, discretionary or not, but rather can only ask the County and developers to comply with community standards.

And to much dismay, even before any approval, the Dollar General Market was already posting help wanted ads online for an assistant store manager and retail clerks for their Borrego Springs store.

Escrow on the land acquisition had not closed and would need a discretionary permit before moving one bush or rock; nothing gets built here fast; and well, it's Borrego, and Borregans like to have a say in such matters. Now that the word was out, the community, not surprisingly, was split on whether it's a good idea to bring a big brand general store into competition with current local businesses, or into Borrego at all.

The way the parcel was zoned, being that the proposed building site is out of the floodplain, Borregans had limited opportunities to speak on the matter, so the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group sent a letter to San Diego County Planning and Development Services (PDS) and encouraged nonprofits, businesses and the public to do the same.

Building materials were delivered in March of 2022 with tall fencing appearing on the site. This again, caused a bit of an uproar, as permits had not been approved at the time. At a Sponsor Group meeting in June of 2023, the developer, David Church said that due to supply chain issues, materials were ordered months in advance and delivered.

– April 2023, Dollar General began the grading and scraping process. The grading permit was approved, according to the County, at a different location than originally proposed. The building is now west of the intersection with DiGiorgio Road and Palm Canyon Drive.

– May 2023, the Dollar General Market's arrival was underway with the pad for the foundation completed, and landscaping done by local landscaper Fredericks Landscaping. Months later, in October, the construction of the building began.

This continued as a frequent topic of discussion in the community.

– June 2023, at a Sponsor Group meeting, then Chair Rebecca Falk said that she had been in communication with David Church, the project developer of the Dollar General store, for several months. She invited him to attend the June meeting to provide an update on the project, listen to community concerns, and answer resident's questions.

At that meeting, Church offered that the community might consider the current location east of Christmas Circle, as better suited for commercial development. He also provided background on Dollar General, noting their own research is conducted on the market and community.

Also at that meeting, it was reiterated that Borrego Springs is an International Dark Sky Community so lighting must meet those standards, i.e., no flood lights, parking lot lights must be fully shielded, down pointed, and turned off at night. Note: Prior to opening, the issue of the lights were not met as the DG Market sign shined bright with exterior lighting.

The building was completed in March.

On February 26, 2024 the County of San Diego, Planning & Development Services awarded and approved Dollar General Market developer NNNDG, LLC ABC Determination for a beer and wine Type 20 license. It is unclear as of print time if they had obtained the ABC License.

Dollar General Corporation is an American chain of stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

The company began in 1939 as a family owned business called J.L. Turner and Son in Scottsville, Kentucky, owned by James Luther Turner and Call Turner. In 1955, the name changed to Dollar General Corporation and in 1968 the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Fortune 500 recognized Dollar General in 1999 and in 2018 reached #123. Dollar General has grown to become one of the most profitable stores in the rural United States with revenue reaching around $21 billion in 2017.

Dollar General is not a big box store like Walmart or Costco, but it is a chain that has over 15,000 stores across the United States, and has about the same number of locations as do Starbucks and McDonald's domestically. All three have business models that work, for them, but Borrego does not seem to fit the target demographically for any of these cookie-cutter franchise operations. The fit is what most people express concern over.

It is one of America's largest discount retailers and last February, it hit a major milestone with the opening of its 20,000th store. And with plans this year "to open an additional 800 stores, remodel 1,500 locations and relocate 85 stores – 2,385 real estate projects overall," it certainly will exceed all other dollar discount stores in the U.S.

The townsfolk have been torn about its opening with some for it, some against it.

The Dollar General Market with significantly lower prices, may cause a domino effect for the other stores to consider changing their prices in order to compete.

The Borrego Sun spoke to a few people coming out of the store, and one local woman named Tanya expressed her delight at the store.

"My groceries at checkout surprisingly only came out to around $40, and when I shop elsewhere in town, it can be over $80 for the same things. I like it."

Another local, however, did not have quite the same feelings, and said they would rather shop at our local stores instead because it supports Borrego. They did agree that prices can be too high, and hope the local stores will lower them.

Most concerning for many is the impact on the existing stores in town.

Is having a Dollar General Market in Borrego Springs good for the future of the town? Only time will tell, so we will see. Let us hope it is not the start of having other chain stores coming in and spoiling our special small town environment.