Eight Decades Strong and Still Serving Others

Oct 16, 2019

This week, the Dollar General senior leadership team marked the Company’s 80th anniversary as CEO Todd Vasos rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to celebrate the legacy of service and leadership on which the Company was founded in 1939.
From Dollar General’s humble beginnings as a wholesale venture between a father and son in 1939 to more than 16,000 retail locations and approximately 141,000 employees today, the past eight decades may have brought considerable change, but one element remains fully intact—Dollar General’s steadfast focus on our mission of Serving Others.
The notion of Serving Others may encompass two short words, but their impact to our communities, customers and employees is anything but that.  Whether it’s providing our employees with numerous opportunities to grow and develop their careers, providing customers with an affordable and convenient retail option or providing our communities with financial resources to support literacy and education, Dollar General is proud to live its mission each and every day.

Throughout the past 80 years, our mission of Serving Others is the foundation on which our business was built and continues to serve as a guiding force to support the Company’s future. 

Learn more about our 80-year history below:
Our History
The Dollar General story began in 1939 when J.L. Turner and his son, Cal Turner, Sr., opened J.L. Turner and Son Wholesale with an initial investment of $5,000 each.  Wholesaling quickly gave way to retailing, and the rest, as they say, is history. 
With a simple concept that no item would cost more than $1, the pair pioneered the dollar store concept when they opened the first Dollar General store in Springfield, Kentucky on June 1, 1955.  The idea became a huge success, and the store became popular with value-seeking customers.

1939: J.L. Turner and Cal Turner, Sr. open J.L. Turner and Son Wholesale in Scottsville, Kentucky. Each invested $5,000 and became partners in a wholesale, dry-goods business to serve retailers that survived the Great Depression. 
1955: The first Dollar General retail store opens. in Springfield, Kentucky.  The store’s business model was simple.  No item would cost more than $1.  Soon, Dollar General stores began sprouting up across southern Kentucky.
1968: Dollar General becomes a public company.
1976: Dollar General exceeds annual sales of $100 million.
1989: Dollar General celebrates its 50th anniversary. Fifty years after the inception of J.L. Turner and Son Wholesale, Dollar General operated approximately 1,300 stores in 23 states alongside more than 7,000 employees.  

1993: The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is established founded on the believe that literacy opens doors for personal, professional and economic growth.  The Dollar General Literacy Foundation provides financial support for libraries, schools and nonprofits looking to further literacy and education.  Over the past 26 years, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has invested approximately $172 million in nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries that have helped more than 11 million individuals learn to read, prepare for their high school equivalency diploma or learn English since its founding in 1993.  
1999: Dollar General recognized on the Fortune 500 list for the first time. Fortune’s annual list of the top 500 most profitable U.S. corporations recognized Dollar General for the first time with annual sales of $3.89 billion.
2000: Dollar General relocates its corporate office to Goodlettsville, Tennessee, which is located north of Nashville.
2009:  Dollar General becomes a public company (again). After the company went private for two years, Dollar General returned to the NYSE under its current stock symbol DG.

2012: Dollar General opens its 10,000th store in Merced, California.

2015: Dollar General names Todd Vasos as Chief Executive Officer.
2019: Dollar General is ranked #119 on the Fortune 500 list in May, from reported sales of $25.6 billion in FY 2018.Dollar General celebrates the grand opening of its 16th distribution center in Longview, Texas in July and the grand opening of its 16,000th store in Panama City, Florida in September.