Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 21, 2017

Dollar General comes to New London

Residents, council hope new convenience store brings more economic development to town
Jul 31, 2017
Photo by: Karyn Spory Everyone was looking for the best dollar deal during Dollar General’s grand opening in New London on Saturday, July 29. Above, manager Nancy Helmick quickly checks out a customer as the line at the register begins to rival the line outside of the store.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News

 

NEW LONDON — For the hundred or so patrons that visited Dollar General Saturday morning, it wasn’t just the free swag that brought them out, it was a chance to see a breath of fresh air in their community.

The convenience store officially opened on July 18, but held its grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration on Saturday, July 29, at 8 a.m.

Even before 8 a.m., the crowd arrived in droves, forming a line that snaked through the parking lot, which at times made it difficult for more vehicles to enter the establishment.

“It’s wonderful to have this in a small town,” said New London resident Janice Thornburg. “We lost our grocery store a few years ago. New London hasn’t had anything new for a while. I’m happy it’s here. I’m a happy camper today.”

Thornburg waited in line with her friend Judy Fye, of Mt. Pleasant. Fye said she was interested to see what this Dollar General offered compared to the one in her hometown.

Both Fye and Thornburg joked about coming at 8 a.m. for the free gifts — a dollar general grocery bag and a store labeled cup. But Fye was also happy to see commerce coming to New London. “This is exactly what this small town needed,” she said.

At 8 a.m., store manager Nancy Helmick came and unlocked the doors. “I’m the only one here right now, so please be patient with me,” she said as the line slowly made their way from the concrete parking lot into the air-conditioned store. By 8:10 a.m., those standing at the end of the line had made their way in, there just weren’t any carts left for them to use.

“This has been good,” Helmick said of the grand opening. “People seem pleasantly surprised by what we carry. I enjoy seeing the expressions on their faces when they see our selection.”

Helmick said earlier in the week she had a customer come in. “She needed red spray paint and didn’t want to have to drive all the way to Burlington to get it. She didn’t know if we’d have it here, but we do,” Helmick said with a smile. “We have just about everything you need.”

Helmick has been a part of the Dollar General family for five years, first managing the store on Agency Street in Burlington and now the New London location.

The New London store has 10 employees, most of them local, Helmick said.

For council members Tom Davis and Greg Malott, seeing the store finally open is a prideful moment.

“It is great to have Dollar General in New London. We’ve missed having a convenience place to shop and from the turn out, it looks like everyone else has too,” said Malott.

“We worked pretty hard to get this here,” said Davis who spoke about the importance of creating an economic development committee to work to bring the general store to New London.

After Dollar General passed on the location several years ago, a group of three men, Paul McPheron, Paul Lorber and Bob Shore worked to bring the retailer to New London.

“This is a great day for New London,” Lorber commented.

The committee, as well as members of the city council, hope having Dollar General in town will help to drive economic development in their city.

“We hope in the future we can get some more businesses here,” said Davis. “We’ve held a few lots open near here (Dollar General) for commercial use.”

Malott said since the bypass was built it’s been hard to keep businesses in New London, citing the closing of the town’s grocery store a few years before. “We hope this footprint will help to drive more commerce into town,” he added.

For the time being, New London residents are happy with their new store.

“It’s nice to think that this winter, when it’s snowing you won’t have to worry about driving to Mt. Pleasant or Burlington to get a gallon of milk, you can just go to Dollar General,” said Patty Shore.

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