Success Crafted

The Rise and Reinvention of Dollar General: From Dollar Days to Retail Giant

and History of Dollar General

When you think of discount stores, you might think of Walmart or Target, but did you know that Dollar General is one of the largest discount retailers in the United States? With over 17,000 stores in 46 states, Dollar General has quickly become a household name.

But how did this retail giant come to be? In this article, we will explore the history of Dollar General, from its establishment to its mission statement.

Establishment and Early Years

Dollar General was founded in 1939 by James Luther Turner and his son Cal Turner Sr. The father and son duo started out by purchasing the failing J.L. Turner and Son Wholesale, a wholesale food company in Kentucky. They soon began to notice that some of their customers were small retailers who bought items in bulk to sell in their own stores.

This gave the Turners an idea for a new venture: a concept they called “Dollar Days.”

In this new model, small retailers could come into a wholesale store and buy a variety of items for a dollar each. This idea was revolutionary at the time, as it allowed small retailers to compete with larger chain stores that had a wider range of merchandise.

In 1955, the first Dollar General store was opened in Springfield, Kentucky, and the rest is history.

Dollar General Store Concept

The concept for the Dollar General Store was simple: provide customers with a large selection of merchandise priced at $1 per item. Dollar General became known for offering affordable essentials like cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, and food.

As the stores expanded, they began to sell other items like clothing, toys, and decorations.

Today, Dollar General is a billion-dollar company with thousands of stores across the country.

It continues to provide customers with affordable options for their everyday needs.

Ownership of Dollar General

In 2007, Dollar General was acquired by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR) for $7.3 billion. At the time, Dollar General was struggling financially, and KKR saw an opportunity to turn the company around.

KKR worked to streamline and modernize Dollar General’s operations, which helped to make the company more profitable.

In 2009, Dollar General went public, offering shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DG.

Today, the company is one of the fastest-growing retailers in the United States, with revenues of over $27 billion in 2020. Dollar General’s Mission Statement

Dollar General’s mission statement is simple: “Serving Others.” This mission statement reflects the company’s commitment to providing affordable products to customers who might not have access to them otherwise.

Dollar General also has a strong commitment to giving back to the communities it serves. The company supports various organizations, including the American Red Cross and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In addition, Dollar General has its own charitable organization, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, which supports adult, family, and youth literacy initiatives.


Dollar General’s success story is a reminder that sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most revolutionary. With its commitment to offering affordable products and serving others, Dollar General has become a staple in communities across the United States.

As the company continues to grow and evolve, it will be exciting to see what innovative concepts it comes up with next.

How Dollar General Makes Money

Dollar General’s business model is to provide a wide range of products at competitive prices to low and medium-income households, primarily in rural areas. In this section, we will explore how Dollar General makes money through its target customers, store locations, business strategies, and cost reduction tactics.

Target Customers and Store Locations

Dollar General targets households with annual incomes of $40,000 or less, who may not have access to other discount retailers in their area. A majority of Dollar General’s stores are located in rural areas, where access to other retailers can be limited or non-existent.

By targeting these underserved areas, Dollar General is able to attract a loyal customer base that relies on their affordable offerings. Another factor that sets Dollar General apart from other retailers is its small store footprint.

Dollar General’s stores are typically 7,400 square feet on average, which is much smaller than Target and Walmart stores. This allows Dollar General to operate in smaller towns or neighborhoods where larger retailers may not have a presence.

The company currently operates over 17,000 stores across the United States, and plans to open 1,050 new stores in 2021.

Business Strategies and Cost Reduction

Dollar General’s business strategy revolves around being a low-cost provider. The company strives to keep its prices competitive with larger retailers, even though it operates on a smaller scale.

Dollar General achieves this by keeping its overhead costs low and sourcing products at competitive prices. One way that Dollar General reduces costs is by stocking a limited selection of items.

Unlike larger retailers who offer a wider variety of products, Dollar General focuses on essential goods like food, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty products. This allows the company to buy in bulk and negotiate better prices with suppliers.

Dollar General also relies on inexpensive labor. While the company pays its employees an average of $9.60 per hour, which is slightly above the federal minimum wage, it also structures its employee schedules to avoid paying benefits like health insurance and paid time off.

This has led to criticism from labor advocates who argue that Dollar General’s employees are underpaid and overworked. In addition to these cost-cutting measures, Dollar General also offers private-label goods under its store brand.

These products are typically priced lower than name-brand products, which allows Dollar General to offer a lower-priced alternative to its customers. Dollar General’s Customer Segments

Dollar General’s customer segments are diverse, but the majority of its customers are low and medium-income families.

In this section, we will explore Dollar General’s customer segments in more detail.

Low and Medium-Income Families

Dollar General caters to low and medium-income families, with an average annual income of $40,000 or less. These families primarily rely on Dollar General for their everyday needs like food, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty products.

Dollar General’s prices are attractive to these customers, who may be on a tight budget and looking for affordable options.


Millennials are another important customer segment for Dollar General. As the first generation to come of age in the 21st century, millennials face unique challenges like student loan debt and a difficult job market.

Many millennials are looking for affordable options for their everyday needs, and Dollar General provides an attractive alternative to more expensive retailers.

Budget-Conscious Senior Citizens

Budget-conscious senior citizens are another important customer segment for Dollar General. Many seniors are working longer into their retirement years and looking for thrifty purchases.

Dollar General’s small store footprint and low prices make it an ideal option for senior citizens who are looking to save money on their everyday needs.


Dollar General’s success is driven by its commitment to serving its target customers through affordable prices and essential products. The company’s small store footprint and limited selection of goods allow it to keep costs low, while its private-label goods offer customers a low-priced alternative to name-brand products.

By focusing on low and medium-income families, millennials, and budget-conscious seniors, Dollar General has been able to establish itself as one of the largest discount retailers in the United States. Dollar General’s Value Propositions

Dollar General’s value propositions are what sets it apart from other discount retailers.

By providing strategic locations, a time-saving shopping experience, a wide range of products, and low shopping prices, Dollar General has become a popular destination for customers across the United States.

Strategic Locations

Dollar General has a strategic presence in rural, suburban, and metropolitan neighborhoods across the United States. By targeting these areas, Dollar General is able to build customer loyalty among communities who may not have access to other retailers.

Dollar General’s stores are typically located in areas where other retailers do not have a presence, making it a convenient option for customers who cannot travel long distances to go shopping.

Time-Saving Shopping Experience

Dollar General’s stores are designed to provide customers with a time-saving shopping experience. Its stores are easy to navigate, with a simple layout and clear signage.

Items are typically arranged in a logical order, making it easy for customers to find what they need. Dollar General’s stores also offer convenient goods that customers can easily grab and go, like snacks and beverages.

Additionally, Dollar General’s operating hours are ideal for customers who cannot shop during regular business hours. Most stores are open from 8 am to 10 pm seven days a week, making it easy for customers to fit shopping into their busy schedules.

Wide Range of Products

Dollar General’s stores offer a wide range of products, making it a one-stop shop for customers’ everyday needs. The company offers products in categories like food, cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, clothing, and home decor.

Dollar General has also expanded its product lines to include more seasonal items like holiday decorations and back-to-school supplies.

Low Shopping Prices

Dollar General is known for being a low-cost provider. Its prices are typically lower than its competitors, making it an attractive option for customers who are looking to save money.

In addition to its low prices, Dollar General offers many promotions, including weekly sales and discounts on bulk purchases. Dollar General also offers a loyalty program called DG Rewards, which allows customers to earn points and savings on future purchases.

Dollar General’s

Channels and

Customer Relationships

To provide an even better shopping experience, Dollar General has expanded its channels and customer relationships. In this section, we will explore Dollar General’s online store, website, retail outlets, customer service, FAQ’s, and social media presence.


Dollar General has been expanding its channels to provide customers with more options for shopping. In 2019, the company launched an online store, giving customers the option to shop from the comfort of their homes.

The website is easy to navigate and offers a wide range of products. Customers can also use the website to find nearby store locations and check for availability of products.

Customer Relationships

Dollar General values its customers and prioritizes customer relationships. The company operates both online and retail outlets where customers can make purchases.

Customers also have access to the company’s customer service helpline, where they can speak to a representative for assistance with any questions or concerns they may have. Additionally, Dollar General’s website offers a comprehensive FAQ section, which can help customers find answers to common questions.

Dollar General also has a strong social media presence, with active accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The company uses social media to engage with customers, share promotions and new products, and offer customer support.


Dollar General’s strategic locations, time-saving shopping experience, wide range of products, and low shopping prices have helped the company establish itself as one of the largest discount retailers in the United States. Its online store, website, retail outlets, customer service, FAQ’s, and social media presence have only added to the company’s appeal to customers looking for convenience and affordability.

As Dollar General continues to expand its channels and customer relationships, it will be exciting to see what new innovations it brings to the retail industry. Dollar General’s

Revenue Streams and

Key Resources

To understand how Dollar General generates revenue and what resources it relies on to operate, it is essential to examine its revenue streams and key resources.

In this section, we will delve into Dollar General’s revenue streams, including the sale of merchandise, the sale of advertising space, and the lease of properties. Additionally, we will explore the key resources that enable Dollar General to carry out its operations, such as its physical retail outlets, catalog, supply chain, and website and IT infrastructure.

Revenue Streams

Dollar General generates revenue through various streams. The primary source of revenue is the sale of merchandise.

With over 17,000 stores across the United States, Dollar General offers a wide range of products, including food, cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, clothing, and home decor. Customers purchase these items at affordable prices, contributing to Dollar General’s revenue.

In addition to the sale of merchandise, Dollar General also generates revenue through the sale of advertising space. The company strategically places advertisements within its stores to promote products or special promotions.

By offering advertising space to vendors and suppliers, Dollar General adds an additional revenue stream to its business model. Furthermore, Dollar General earns revenue through the lease of properties.

The company owns or leases the retail spaces where its stores are located. By leasing these properties to third-party tenants, Dollar General generates recurring revenue.

Key Resources

Dollar General relies on several key resources to carry out its day-to-day operations and support its revenue streams. These resources enable Dollar General to meet customer demands and provide a seamless shopping experience.

One of Dollar General’s most crucial resources is its extensive network of physical retail outlets. With over 17,000 stores strategically located across the United States, Dollar General can reach customers in various regions, including rural, suburban, and metropolitan areas.

These physical retail outlets serve as the core of Dollar General’s business, providing customers with easy access to affordable goods. Additionally, Dollar General’s catalog is an important resource.

The company invests in producing and distributing catalogs that showcase its products and promotions. Customers can browse through the catalog to discover new offerings or plan their shopping trips.

The catalog serves as an additional marketing tool, allowing Dollar General to reach customers who might prefer a tangible reference when considering their purchases. The supply chain is another critical resource for Dollar General.

The company has developed a robust supply chain network that ensures the timely delivery of merchandise to its stores. By efficiently managing its supply chain, Dollar General can maintain adequate inventory levels and offer a wide range of products to its customers.

Furthermore, Dollar General’s website and IT infrastructure play a pivotal role in supporting its operations. The website serves as a platform where customers can browse products, locate nearby stores, and even make online purchases.

It also provides essential information, such as store hours and current promotions. Dollar General’s IT infrastructure supports its online presence, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for customers and facilitating efficient inventory management.

Key Activities and Key Partners

To sustain its operations and revenue streams, Dollar General engages in key activities and relies on key partners. These activities and partnerships are vital for its continued success.

One of Dollar General’s key activities is offering consumable goods to its customers. Whether it is food, cleaning supplies, or health and beauty products, Dollar General focuses on providing essential items that customers need on a regular basis.

By offering these consumable goods, Dollar General becomes a reliable source for customers’ everyday needs. Another key activity is the provision of delivery services.

In addition to the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience, Dollar General has expanded its services to include delivery options. This allows customers to place orders online or through the company’s mobile app and have their purchases delivered to their doorstepa convenient alternative for those who might have difficulty visiting a physical store.

Dollar General’s key partners play a crucial role in its business operations. Advertising partners collaborate with Dollar General to promote their products and services within the stores.

Vendor and supply partners provide the necessary merchandise that fills Dollar General’s shelves, ensuring a steady supply of affordable goods. Distribution partners assist in the logistics of transporting products from warehouses to stores, facilitating efficient delivery across the company’s vast network.

Furthermore, affiliate partnerships enable Dollar General to expand its online reach and attract customers through various digital platforms. Lastly, joint partnerships with other businesses allow Dollar General to explore new opportunities and extend its market presence.


Dollar General’s revenue streams primarily revolve around the sale of merchandise, the sale of advertising space, and the lease of properties. The company’s key resources, including physical retail outlets, catalogs, supply chain, and website and IT infrastructure, contribute to its ability to generate revenue and provide exceptional customer experiences.

By engaging in key activities like offering consumable goods and providing delivery services, and fostering relationships with advertising partners, vendor and supply partners, distribution partners, affiliate partners, and joint partners, Dollar General is able to continually deliver value to its customers and thrive in the competitive retail industry. Dollar General’s

Cost Structure and


Dollar General’s success in the retail industry is not only determined by its revenue streams and key resources, but also by its cost structure and ability to navigate competition.

In this section, we will explore Dollar General’s cost structure, including costs related to acquisition, storage, distribution, salaries, and marketing. Additionally, we will examine Dollar General’s competitors in the market, such as Walmart, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, and Family Dollar Stores.

Cost Structure

Dollar General operates with a cost structure that allows it to maintain its competitiveness in the market. While the company focuses on offering affordable products, it also strives to manage its costs effectively.

Some of the key cost components of Dollar General’s cost structure include:

Acquisition Costs: Dollar General incurs costs related to the acquisition of merchandise to stock its stores. By carefully selecting suppliers and negotiating favorable pricing, Dollar General can acquire products at competitive prices, allowing for greater profit margins.

Storage and Distribution Costs: As a retailer with a vast network of stores, Dollar General needs to account for costs associated with storing and distributing its merchandise. This includes expenses related to warehousing, transportation, and logistics, ensuring that products are efficiently delivered to each store location.

Salaries: Dollar General employs a significant number of employees across its stores and corporate offices. While the company aims to keep its labor costs low, it also recognizes the importance of fair compensation for its employees.

By adequately managing its workforce, Dollar General ensures that its stores are properly staffed to provide quality service to customers. Marketing Costs: Dollar General invests in marketing efforts to promote its brand and attract customers.

These costs include advertising campaigns, signage, and various marketing initiatives. By effectively promoting its value proposition and highlighting its competitive prices, Dollar General aims to generate increased foot traffic and customer loyalty.


In the highly competitive retail industry, Dollar General faces competition from various players, including Walmart, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, and Family Dollar Stores. These competitors pose both challenges and opportunities for Dollar General.

Walmart is one of the largest retail chains in the world and offers a wide range of products at competitive prices. With its extensive footprint and strong brand presence, Walmart poses a significant challenge to Dollar General.

However, Dollar General differentiates itself by strategically locating its stores in areas where Walmart might not have a presence, capturing customers who seek convenience and affordability. Dollar Tree, another competitor, operates on a similar business model as Dollar General, offering products at a fixed price point.

While Dollar Tree sets all merchandise at $1, Dollar General offers a wider range of prices. Both companies target value-conscious customers, but Dollar General differentiates itself by offering a broader selection of products and catering to diverse income levels.

Walgreens, known for its focus on health and wellness products, also competes with Dollar General. While Walgreens offers a different product assortment, its convenient locations and strong brand presence can pose a challenge to Dollar General’s market share.

However, Dollar General’s focus on affordability and everyday essentials provides a unique value proposition that appeals to a broader customer base. Family Dollar Stores, a subsidiary of Dollar Tree, is also a competitor in the retail discount market.

While similar in nature, Dollar General and Family Dollar Stores have slightly different strategies. Family Dollar Stores primarily target urban and suburban locations, while Dollar General has a more extensive presence in rural areas.

Additionally, Dollar General’s broader product assortment and strategic locations allow it to capture a wider customer base. Dollar General’s SWOT Analysis

To understand Dollar General’s position in the market, it is essential to conduct a SWOT analysis.

This analysis assesses the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.


Dollar General’s strengths lie in its convenience, low purchase prices, strategic locations, dedicated employees, and brand name reputation. The company’s small store format and strategic locations in rural communities and underserved areas create convenience for customers who do not have easy access to other retailers.

Additionally, Dollar General’s focus on offering affordable prices appeals to value-conscious customers.


Dollar General does face weaknesses that need to be addressed. One of the weaknesses is the problem of franchise operations.

Some of the company’s stores are operated by franchisees, which can create challenges in maintaining consistency and uniformity across all locations. Additionally, past management problems have affected the company’s image and operations.

Dollar General needs to address these weaknesses through effective management practices.


Dollar General has several opportunities to capitalize on. Changes in environmental policies and consumers’ increasing focus on sustainability present an opportunity for Dollar General to expand its offerings of eco-friendly products.

Additionally, as the demand for healthier food options increases, Dollar General can explore opportunities to offer low-calorie, organic, and natural food products. Furthermore, expanding into the international market and adapting to demographic changes, such as an aging population, can present growth opportunities for the company.


Dollar General faces threats from various sources. Governmental issues, such as changes in regulatory policies or taxes, could impact the company’s operations and profitability.

Moreover, the increased cost of operation, including costs related to labor, transportation, and overhead, presents a potential threat to Dollar General’s ability to maintain its low-cost advantage. Additionally, the lack of long-term contracts with suppliers can leave Dollar General vulnerable to fluctuations in pricing or disruptions in the supply chain.


Dollar General maintains a cost structure that allows it to offer affordable products to customers, while navigating competition with key players like Walmart, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, and Family Dollar Stores. By effectively managing its costs related to acquisition, storage, distribution, salaries, and marketing, Dollar General strives to remain competitive in the market.

Through a thorough analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, Dollar General can leverage its strengths, address weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats to continue its growth and success in the retail industry. Dollar General’s growth and success in the retail industry can be attributed to its strategic approach and commitment to serving its target customers.

By offering affordable prices, a wide range of products, and convenient locations, Dollar General has become a household name. The company’s cost structure and competitive strategies, coupled with its ability to navigate competition from rivals like Walmart and Dollar Tree, have contributed to its steady revenue streams.

Through careful analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, Dollar General can continue to evolve and adapt to the changing retail landscape. As the retail industry continues to evolve, Dollar General’s commitment to convenience, value, and customer satisfaction will remain key to its ongoing success.

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