In the simplest terms, it’s what can happen when a town that is looking for stores finds a company that is looking for locations.
The ceremonial ground-breaking on Woodland’s Dollar General store took place Monday afternoon, the latest tangible evidence of the big-time makeover that is taking place in the county’s northernmost town.
Dollar General is building on the site of the former Lamar Manufacturing building on Highway 48, and on Monday all that was left of that building was fragments of exterior walls, a couple of support beams and the concrete slab that served as the foundation.
The standard sounds of ongoing demolition served as the audio backdrop to Saturday’s ground-breaking, where Woodland’s mayor and town council, as well as dignitaries from throughout the county, gathered to commemorate the coming progress.
The arrival of Dollar General has been a long time coming to Woodland, a dance that has gone back and forth between the town and the corporation for years. That dance finally concluded just over a month ago when Dollar General completed its purchase of the Woodland property and put plans in place to construct a new store.
That sale was the result of a concerted effort between the town and the Randolph County Economic Development Authority, which collaborated to create a map of potential store sites to pitch to various retail outlets.
“We had originally, with the help of the economic development group, put out a flier with potential properties that could be used or bought for a Dollar General or any kind of retail really. We sent that out to a lot of people, and that came to fruit,” said Woodland mayor Scott Carter.
The first fruit of that effort was the Family Dollar/Dollar Tree store that was constructed and opened at the corner of County Road 59 and Highway 48 in 2021.
The second fruit was the reason that the golden shovels were broken out Monday.
“They picked this particular location, which is a plus for us because we’re getting rid of really an icon of a building but something that’s been going down, the structure’s been deteriorating and things like that,” Carter said. “So it’s time to redevelop this area and turn it into something worthwhile for the city.
This addition is going to be a huge impact for the city and the community around here. We’re excited about it coming to town.”
When small towns like Woodland become the location of new corporate developments there’s always the built-in reflex that those new stores will be bad for local business. But Carter believes the opposite may play out for Woodland.
With stores that provide a place for local folks to buy essentials without having to drive 20 or 30 minutes to the next town, it keeps those same folks from buying gas or meals outside of town while they’re on those trips.
“We’ve got two local stores here that do pretty well,” Carter said. “I feel like that by having something like this and the Family Dollar, it brings in more people that are going to stop and buy the gas or buy the pizzas or whatever. So I think it draws in people that are going to help the local stores.”
With demolition under way, construction will not be far behind. Carter said that there is a reasonable expectation that Woodland’s shoppers will be buying items from their local Dollar General by sometime this coming summer.
“I would say within the next six months we’ll be able to buy some groceries here in town,” he said.