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Chicago Considering Legislation to Restrict Dollar Stores


The City Council of Chicago is considering legislation to prohibit stores ranging from 4,000 to 17,000 square foot in extent from establishing within one mile of each other if under common ownership. Although the two leading chains, Dollar General and Dollar Tree, were not specifically cited in legislation, it is evident that the Chicago measure is directed against their business model.  Since Chicago has opened discount grocery stores in ‘food deserts”, their action in banning competition appears to be a conflict of interest.


Urban areas within the city of Chicago are underserved by grocery stores.  Despite civic-minded action by retail chains, a Walmart Supercenter, a Whole Foods store and an Aldi deep discount unit ceased operation based on theft, security issues and financial loss.


Perhaps it is time for the city of Chicago to face reality and provide security to store operators. Residents should exercise a degree of restraint in application of the “five finger discount” and conform to the norms of a well-regulated society.  It is not the fault of the grocery chains that food deserts have proliferated.


In a statement relating to intended legislation, Dollar General commented, “We believe restrictive measures harm communities by limiting customer choice, convenience and affordability, particularly in inflationary times.  Our mission of serving others and our intense customer focus differentiates Dollar General from other seemingly similar retailers.”


Public entities should not engage in retail trade.  An outstanding example is the situation with public sector liquor outlets that charge high prices, are beset with corruption and nepotism and do little to curb alcohol abuse.  This is personified by one legislator stating, “This a dry County and we have lots of alcoholics to prove it.”