MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – On a dreary Monday, you only needed to take a few steps inside the Maryland Heights Dollar General on Midland Boulevard to see the vibrant colors of the store’s new produce section.
“We’re offering everything from the fresh fruit all the way down to the makings of a salsa,” Kisha Hayes, manager of the Dollar General store, said.
In its second week of offering produce, she says customers are taking note of the new options. The two closest grocery stores are three and a half and two and a half miles away, respectively.
“Huge convenience for these small, little neighborhoods you see here. We have several apartment complexes here, and we have a customer base that just wants to come in, grab what they need, and go home,” Hayes said. “They don’t want to have to travel too far and deal with a big crowd, especially after work.”
Dollar General says it offers the top 20 items typically sold in traditional grocery stores, covering approximately 80% of the produce categories most grocery stores carry. In Maryland Heights, Hayes says she’s placing two produce orders a week.
“It’s just based off of the sales. Whatever we’re missing, we just want to make sure we get it replenished for the customers right away,” Hayes said.
Dollar General tells us it currently offers fresh fruits and vegetables in more than 4,400 stores, with plans to get to 5,000 in 2024 and more than 10,000 stores in years to come. The company says a meaningful number of the stores are or will be located in current USDA-defined food deserts.
And the response has been really positive so far from customers.
“Nothing but positivity,” Hayes said. “We have no cons to the new addition. None whatsoever.”