Hilmar gained about 50 jobs – and one of the California’s first Dollar General stores — as the business celebrates its grand opening today.
“Dollar General is proud to be opening one of our first California stores in Hilmar,” said Mohamed Alaoui, Dollar General district manager. “We look forward to serving customers here with a superior shopping experience that encompasses convenience, value and customer service.”
The Tennessee-based discount retailer operates more than 10,000 stores in 39 states, with most locations in southern and Midwestern states.
But Dollar General is in the midst of a major expansion effort, with 50 new stores planned for California this year alone. All of those are slated for Southern and Central California, said Dollar General spokesperson Emily Weiss. Weiss said she could provide no further information on locations at this time.
The Hilmar location is Dollar General’s fifth in the Central Valley, with one store in Merced and three in Bakersfield. Dollar General has just one other store in the state – in Montclair, a Los Angeles suburb.
The Hilmar site, located at 7970 Lander Ave., was chosen based on demographics, competitive factors, and traffic patterns, Weiss said.
“This location was just a great fit for a Dollar General Market store,” Weiss said.
The new Dollar General Market store, combining a full-service grocery store with general merchandise, is larger than traditional Dollar General stores which do not include a grocery component. Dollar General is not strictly a “dollar store,” but instead more akin to a scaled-down Walmart Supercenter where most items are under $10.
The store will employ a staff of about 50, Weiss said, ranging from managerial positions to checkers and stock clerks. Though Hilmar touts the lowest unemployment rate in Merced County at 10.7 percent, the Dollar General Market alone could lower that unemployment rate to 8.6 percent, should all workers come from Hilmar.
Dollar General also offers other services to the community, offering information on free literacy services, English language lessons, and obtaining a GED at every cash register.
“Dollar General is looking forward to being part of the community,” Weiss said.