Monday, May 14, 2012

Small Vermont town wrestling over the introduction of a Dollar General to the town common

Vermonters have put up a long and mostly successful fight against any kind of development that they've interpreted as encroaching or threatening the region's unique and historic charm. The New York Times notes that big-box store Target has yet to succeed in getting a story open in the state. Wal-Mart has only four. But Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar now have more than two dozen. And that seems to be enough for some in the small town of Chester, Vt., to take a stand against the Dollar General proposed to open in the small town common. (Photo of Chester,

The Dollar General store in question will be a 9,100-square-foot store on South Main Street. So far, the Chester Development Review Board narrowly voted to let it go forward as long as the store agrees to 35 conditions, including, reports Abby Goodnough, "that is use wood clapboard siding and keep its shopping carts inside."

Goodnough writes that chief opponent Shawn Cunningham is concerned about the town's tourism-based economy, its historic character and that Chester (pop: 3,000) will lose its Vermontiness." Most of the people in Chester now are people who have come from someplace else," Cunningham said. "It's like a lot of Vermont. Why come to a place like this only to have it turn into the kind of place you were trying to leave?"

Cunningham's group could cite state laws to appeal the board's appeal on environmental, aesthetic and other criteria. Dollar General, which has its roots in a tiny store founded in 1939 in Scottsville, Ky., has faced opposition before in other states. In Vermont, though, "the state's preservation trust has been tracking the spread of dollar stores since 2010," the Times reports, "and it provides grant money to citizens groups to oppose them, including Mr. Cunningham's."

1 comment:

Chester Telegraph said...

You can a slew of stories on the Chester Vermont Dollar General issue, dating back to August of 2011 in The Chester Telegraph: