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Dollar General customers forced to go elsewhere

September 25, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - On Sunday evening, Stephen Monn did what many others before him have done. He walked past Dollar General, peeked in the windows and read one of several handwritten signs: "Sorry, we are CLOSED. Please visit our store at 1111 Buchanan TR next to Food Lion."

"If Dollar General doesn't open up, I hope some general merchandise store does because a lot of people downtown depend on it," said Monn, of 126 W. Main St.

While he rarely frequented the Pa. 16 location, which closed after a Sept. 2 fire, Monn appreciates that the store served people who live downtown and don't have vehicles. He said he often saw people walking past his home, carrying the Dollar General's signature yellow plastic bags.

Store officials said no decision has been made whether the store will reopen, and Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department officers feel the matter could be tied up in at least a year's worth of insurance battles over the blaze, which was ruled accidental electrical by investigators.

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The 51 W. Main St. store opened in July 1996 and employed seven people, who are now working at other sites, Dollar General Media Relations Manager Emily Snyder said.

Angel Gonzalez, who lives on Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro, said his entire family frequented the store and now must drive to the Martin's Food Store in Washington Township, Pa.

"We were talking last night about that store and how we need it," Gonzalez said.

Gloria Hayre has lived across the street from Dollar General for four years and bought everyday supplies, especially pet food, there.

"I was over there almost every day," Hayre said. "It saves on gas just to run over there."

Now she's been heading to Martin's Food Store and Wal-Mart in Rouzerville, Pa., for the things she used to buy at Dollar General.

"This dollar store just seemed to have more what people want," Hayre said.

"A lot of people are dependent on that store for basic necessities," said MaryBeth Hockenberry, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

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