The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: Dollar General And Rural America There are more than 13,000 Dollar General stores in the United States, which is roughly equal to Starbucks and almost double the number of Walmarts. The chain has found a profitable market outside of cities and in many of these places, Dollar General is the easiest and most affordable store for essential goods. | Want to support 1A? Give to your local public radio station at donate.npr.org/1A and subscribe to our podcast. Have questions? Email the show at 1a@wamu.org and find us on Twitter @1a.
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The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: Dollar General And Rural America

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The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: Dollar General And Rural America

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The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: Dollar General And Rural America

The Billion-Dollar Discount Chain: Dollar General And Rural America

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/613735318/614134682" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Dollar General in Moville, Iowa, is a stone's throw from the only grocery store in town. Though the grocery has produce and fresh meats, it can't compete with Dollar General on other items. Frank Morris/NPR hide caption

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Frank Morris/NPR

The Dollar General in Moville, Iowa, is a stone's throw from the only grocery store in town. Though the grocery has produce and fresh meats, it can't compete with Dollar General on other items.

Frank Morris/NPR

There are more than 13,000 Dollar General stores in the United States. That's about the same number as Starbucks. It's almost double the number of Walmarts.

And Dollar General plans to open 900 more stores this year, largely in rural areas.

The chain has found a sizable and profitable market outside of cities. In many of these places, Dollar General is the easiest and most affordable store from which to purchase essential goods. This strategy has made it "one of the most profitable retailers in the U.S." according to The Wall Street Journal. But it hasn't always been so successful. Dollar General's roots extend back to the Great Depression, when James Luther Turner and Cal Turner began buying and liquidating bankrupt general stores to support their family.

Former CEO Cal Turner Jr. shares the story behind the three-generation-run family business that changed the American retail landscape forever.

Dollar General, Walmart, Starbucks: Which States Have More Of Which?