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Dollar General Store under review in Ripon
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Ripon Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart, right, checks specifics of the Dollar General market layout with planner and building inspector Todd Hatch. Sarah DelaCruz of the Public Works Department looks on. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — The final plan check for the Dollar General Market in Ripon’s Townsquare Shopping Center is under way in the city’s Public Works Department.

Planner Todd Hatch said Monday that the firm has asked for a speedy review of their plans so that they can get started in transforming the long-vacant 25,000-square-foot building into a new concept where residents will be offered three choices in their shopping – grocery, home and apparel.

“It can’t be quick enough for them – they want to get started now,” Hatch said.

Hatch, also serving as the city building inspector, was going over the plans this week with Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart.  They noted that new air conditioning units had already been delivered to the former home of Mar Val Market and were being installed by the property owner. 

The 9,000-strong family of stores, many with the added new grocery store concept,  are located throughout 35 states with over 1,000 in Texas alone.  Two stores are expected to open in Modesto, included in the 35 in Central California planned between Stockton and Bakersfield.

Plans for the Ripon facility call for the frozen foods to be located along the side wall to the east.  The store is reportedly offering a wide selection of produce and fresh meats.  A small café area is seen in the plans near the front of the store.  Offices and restrooms are also located in the front.

City Administrator Leon Compton said he is just glad they are coming to Ripon with their new shopping facility that has been described as a small version of a Walmart with an expected opening in February.  Walmart has been said to be their number one competitor.

“It should be an asset to this side of town.  I hope their pricing is competitive and that it will bring our shoppers back from places like Winco (in Modesto).  We have a tremendous amount of leakage,” Compton said, referring to people shopping and spending their money outside the Ripon community.

The city administrator added that he couldn’t clearly estimate the expected sales tax revenue that would come into the city with the addition of the new store, but projected that it should be more than $10,000 for the year.  Dollar General – unlike the previous grocery store – is going to be offering more taxable items, it was noted.

The only large grocery store located in Ripon currently is Save Mart which is located on the north side of Highway 99.  Compton said Dollar General should be a welcome addition especially for those living on the campus of Bethany Home’s apartment units on both sides of Main Street.

Dollar Chief Executive Officer Rick Dreiling has said that the new “market” concept is expected to play an expanded role in the future of Dollar General.

More than 600 new stores are opening this year along with another 550 stores that are being remodeled with the company expanding in four states including California, Nevada, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Standard and Poor’s recently cited the deep-discounting Dollar stores for being positioned for market-share gains as consumers become better at comparing prices and searching out the best deals that are being offered in their communities.