New 'Dollars' should mean more bucks for small Hawkins towns

Jeff Bobo • Mar 17, 2020 at 8:30 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — Two Hawkins County towns are hoping the addition of a “Dollar” translates to a lot more bucks in the form of sales tax revenue.

Surgoinsville's second Dollar General store, located on Forest View Drive near Highway 11-W on the far east end of town, opened its doors last Wednesday.

Meanwhile Mount Carmel leaders are “cautiously optimistic” about a new Dollar General opening on East Main Street at the intersection of Independence Avenue.

The Mount Carmel store developer has already requested and received setback and minimum parking space variances from the Planning Commission for the Main Street property.

City Manager Mike Housewright told the Times News on Monday that the Main Street property transfer was scheduled to be completed in April, after which there will hopefully be more movement on that project.

Most municipalities might look at the addition of a Dollar General store as routine business.

For Mount Carmel, however, this would be the first major sale tax generating development since the old Food City store left town nearly 20 years ago.

Mount Carmel is at a disadvantage with regards to future commercial development because of a lack of available property.

Only one side of Main street can be developed due to the location of Highway 11-W, and much of the commercial property in the downtown area is squeezed between Main Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which limits their options.

Housewright said he and town leaders aren't ready to count their chickens yet, but they are cautiously optimistic about the proposed Dollar General.

“This would be huge for Mount Carmel without a doubt,” Housewright said. “The town has been working to get a development like this for many, many years. We're not going to start celebrating until the ribbon is cut, but we're doing everything possible on our end to make sure this happens.”

As for Surgoinsville, Mayor Merrell Graham reported to the BMA last week that the city had completed paving on Forest View Drive just in time for the opening of its second Dollar General last Wednesday.

Surgoinsville, which has a population of 1,800, now has two Dollar General stores.

The first store is located on Highway 11-W almost exactly three miles west of Forest View Drive, but Graham said he doesn't believe they will compete with each other, so this should be a completely new sales tax revenue stream for the town

The “old” Dollar General serves Surgoinsville residents, as well as the Carters Valley and Stanley Valley communities north of Surgoinsville and the more sparse neighborhoods south of the Holston River.

The new Dollar General should attract customers from the residential neighborhoods in Greenland, New Canton and western Church Hill around Volunteer High School.

“I really don't think it's going to take away from the Dollar General we have,” Graham told the Times News last week. “This store (first) that we have is fantastic. Many times you go over there and there's not a place to park. It is busy.”

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