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Murfreesboro to court Dollar General Market

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By P.J. Tracy

Murfreesboro Diamond

In an effort to help combat the issue of a lack of grocery store in Murfreesboro following the fire that closed Cash Savers, the City of Murfreesboro is taking a proactive approach in trying to recruit other possibilities.

Next week, Murfreesboro mayor Jim O’Neal will host a representative of Dollar General in the hopes of attracting a new Dollar General Market store that would feature a selection of fresh meats and produce that is currently unavailable in town.

“It’s probably the most realistic option to begin with,” O’Neal said, citing the difficulty of attracting a full-fledged grocery store without a definitive decision by the Rehkopf family about their plans, or lack therein, of building back in Murfreesboro.

O’Neal said Rehkopf’s district manager Tim Allen has stated to him that the final outcome of payout was still tied up between the grocers and their insurance company and negotiations were ongoing.

“If negotiations break down, it could go to court, where it could take potentially several years [for a conclusion],” said O’Neal. “In the meantime, we are trying out this alternative. That’s the biggest issue moving forward is that until we, or potential other grocers, know what Rehkopf’s is going to do – we are not a big enough town to support two grocery stores, and it’s just not going to happen. In some ways we are on hold and unable to meaningfully move forward.”

After a recent call to Dollar General headquarters yielded no gain, it was brought to the city’s attention that each state had a real estate buyer that decides the feasibility of locations for new stores. That representative will be in Murfreesboro next to week to see a pair of sites that could potentially work for the company.

O’Neal declined to identify the sites in question, but said that if the company preferred either site, then a price would have to be negotiated with the property owner.

“They could be for sale,” O’Neal said, noting that this decision had potential to move forward despite the uncertainty of the grocery store. “Dollar General had interest in this four years ago, but we just couldn’t find a site that they would approve at that time.”

Noting that a Dollar General Market store was not a “grocery store per-se,” he said an expanded frozen foods selection, fresh meat and basic produce options would be a boon to the local community that lacks such options currently. 

“Not having to drive to Nashville for that bell pepper to finish the meal we are fixing to eat would be an acceptable situation for the community to me,” he added.

O’Neal also said that sales tax numbers had increased marginally at Dollar General and significantly at Family Dollar – who has more frozen food options — in the wake of the grocery store’s closing.

“Hopefully next week all will go well with the meeting, and all we can do is be available.”

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