Here for What Matters: Providing Fresh Produce in More Locations than Any Other Mass Retailer or Grocer

Jan 26, 2024

When communities call upon Dollar General for fresh food, the team works to deliver

In the U.S., 44 million people are food insecure, and rural communities bear the heaviest burden with a lack of retail options for food. Though not a grocer, millions of families rely on Dollar General for convenient access to everyday essentials, including nutritious foods. In fact, with a vast footprint of nearly 20,000 stores in 48 states, approximately 80% of those stores are in communities of 20,000 or fewer people. That’s why when communities call upon Dollar General for fresh food, the team works to deliver.

In 2003, the Company began offering produce when it opened its first Dollar General Market store. In 2021, DG announced plans to expand its fresh fare and, today, with more than 5,000 locations with produce, Dollar General now has more individual points of produce distribution than any other mass retailer or grocer.

In celebration of exceeding the 5,000th store milestone, Dollar General is spotlighting communities that previously had no other retail options for fresh food, but with the help of DG, that need has been filled.


A rural community of fewer than 200 residents, Dollar General opened a small format store in Fruitdale in 2019, but by 2023 the community was ready for more. DG received a petition signed by more than 200 Washington County families asking the Company to provide more food options through a store expansion.

“Dollar General is thought to be ‘America’s neighborhood general store.’ There is no truer statement than this for the Fruitdale DG,” the petition read. “With inflation pushing more shoppers to find cheaper food, and sometimes driving nearly 25 miles or more to towns to shop for everyday needs, the addition of fresh produce, fresh meat, eggs and a greater variety of healthy food choices would be a great value to this area and Dollar General’s customers.”

By late August 2023, DG had fulfilled the community’s request, increasing the store footprint by approximately 50% which included welcoming fresh produce; adding more than 50% more coolers for refrigerated and frozen foods; increasing the selection of health and wellness items; supplementing the personal care product selection and adding the Company’s non-consumable set which includes home décor, seasonal and more.


In January 2023, Bluford Village President Michael Bullard sent a letter to DG CEO Todd Vasos, sharing how proud the community (population 700) was to have their Dollar General Store, which opened in 2018.

“This is a tremendous asset to our community, and we are absolutely thrilled Dollar General has selected our Village to establish this store. As a small rural village, we are committed to making every effort to assure its success,” he stated.

Bullard went on to share that residents drive 15 miles roundtrip to shop at another DG store, which offers fresh produce, meat and more dairy products. He expressed interest in the Bluford store offering a wider selection of food, not only to increase convenience for his residents but to also keep those sales in his community.

In December 2023, the Bluford store was expanded to offer fresh produce as well as an increase by more than 50% of coolers for refrigerated and frozen foods, including additional dairy products.

After their local grocer closed in 2022, the Melville community of just over 1,000 residents was left without fresh food. “Without having a grocery store with meat and all the necessities, it will be tough for that little town to survive,” said St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard in an article by The Acadiana Advocate. “There’s not a whole lot to do to help them.”

As with many other small, rural communities in Louisiana, Melville is not located near any major highways or interstates and according to census data, has lost half its population since 2000. With the nearest full-service grocery store being 30 miles away, no gas stations, the closure of the local ferry and loss of jobs, Melville residents rely heavily on their local Dollar General for everyday essentials.

In October of 2023 after receiving feedback from DG team members, the Company remodeled the Mellville store, adding fresh produce and making other improvements for the community. “Customers love ‘their DG’ store and are very thankful to have it,” shared Heather B., Dollar General’s district manager of operations.


Located just beyond Detroit and Flint, Michigan, this rural community of 400 residents would drive 15-20 miles each way for the next closest grocer. Dollar General saw Kingston Township’s need for more convenient access to nutritious food, including fresh produce, and in August 2023 remodeled the store to include fresh fare – from the Company’s produce set that includes potatoes, apples, salad and more, to expanded dairy and other refrigerated and frozen items.

The store serves as a retail hub with longtime residents at the helm, including DG store manager Shari A., who was born and raised in the farming community, and DG sales associate Dave, who retired from the Kingston police department before joining DG five years ago. “A lot of residents rely on DG,” said Shari. “We have many customers who walk to our store from a nearby apartment complex. They’re thrilled by the addition of produce and more food.”

The Kingston store also helps with food insecurity in Michigan through donations, with more than 6,000 pounds of food contributed to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in 2023 through DG’s Feeding America partnership.


After seeing a neighboring community’s Dollar General with fresh produce, Mayor Chris Armacost reached out in January 2023 asking for the addition of produce to their local store. Located between Galveston and Houston, Hitchcock’s local grocer closed more than 10 years ago, leaving residents to travel more than 12 miles each way for fresh food.

“When we first heard that they were going to bring in produce, it was something that a lot of people really appreciated,” said Morris Tuck, city council member. “It seems like a simple thing, but a lot of people were glad to hear that we would have something that was not always available to us. To think that a corporation that’s already here in town could help is something that we all really appreciate.”

Tuck shared that prior to DG’s food expansion, most people in the community would wait and do their grocery shopping out of town once each week. In November 2023, DG remodeled the Hitchcock store to bring fresh produce and an expanded selection of refrigerated and frozen food to the residents of the two-stoplight town.

“We take for granted driving to get what we want. Others in the community are not so fortunate. They can’t just drive ten miles one way on a daily basis. Now, to have that option here in our town is going to be very beneficial for many.”


These stories are just a handful of recent produce expansions in response to a community request and/or need. Read additional stories on the DG blog, including Port Huron, MI, Sopchoppy, FL and Fort Payne, AL; and Lockney, TX.

To learn more about how DG is helping the communities it serves, visit To find a DG location near you offering produce, visit our online Store Locator and use the filter function for fresh produce.