Second Dollar General store moving into northern St. Mary’s -- Gazette.Net



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A second Dollar General store is coming to northern St. Mary’s County, across Route 5 from the Mechanicsville Wawa. It will join a Dollar General nearby in Charlotte Hall.

Realtor Billy Fitzgerald sold the 2.7 acres last December on the corner of Old Village Road and Route 5 for $550,000. The highly visible property along the principal highway leading to and from Waldorf is cleared now for the store’s construction.

The building permit calls for construction of a 12,480-square-foot store, said Harry Knight, permits coordinator for the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management.

“It’s going to be pretty big,” Fitzgerald said.

By comparison, Knight said the Tractor Supply Co., which opened in Hollywood recently, is 20,000 square feet.

Fitzgerald said he has owned the lot where the new Dollar General will go for 20 years. “I’ve had contracts come and go. [Dollar General] came along and offered a favorable price.”

The store should be open by mid-summer. “It’s just a matter of Mother Nature cooperating with us,” he said. The store will be accessed by southbound Route 5 and Old Village Road. “I’m sure they’re going to have items people need on the way home,” he said.

The Charlotte Hall Dollar General was remodeled in May 2012 and will remain open, said Crystal Ghassemi, public relations manager for the Dollar General Corp.

“The reason these stores are close together is because we know convenience is a major factor in our customers’ shopping decisions as we generally serve customers within a 3-5 mile radius, or 10 minute drive,” she said in an email.

“We look for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice. We also take demographic trends, competitive factors and traffic patterns into consideration. These locations are a great fit for Dollar General,” she said.

Each store employs six to 10 people, Ghassemi said.

An average of 29,750 vehicles a day travel by the intersection where Route 5 and Route 235 merge into Route 5 in Mechanicsville, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Steven Anderson became the new director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic and Community Development in October. “I’d much rather have a high-end development,” he said last week of the second Dollar General. “Those are not the kind of developments I want to see in St. Mary’s County.”

But the economic reality is that bargain stores “are always busy,” he said. Walmarts are seen in wealthy areas, he noted.

“While their presence will generally not inhibit other development, it’s just further justification for a change of course in economic development,” he said.

The median household income in St. Mary’s County was $82,529 in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Northern St. Mary’s County has the Charlotte Hall, New Market and Mechanicsville town centers, areas of designated development, but none of them have central sewer service. A $50,000 master plan for Charlotte Hall is included in the proposed fiscal 2013 budget for the department of land use and growth management.

jbabcock@somdnews.com