Residents push back as Dollar General considers new St. Albans location

Dollar General’s consideration of building a new store on Coal River Road outside St. Albans is drawing ire from some of the area residents.

The store says it’s “in a due diligence phase” of considering putting a store at 366 Coal River Road, which, according to a Google Streetview look at the property, currently is surrounded by houses, countryside and trees.

“We’re interested in adding a new location to Kanawha County, but have not committed to doing so quite yet,” Crystal Ghassemi, a company spokeswoman, wrote in an email to the Gazette-Mail.

The store already has four locations with St. Albans addresses and a total of 13 within a 10-mile radius of the property in question, according to the company’s website.

Ghassemi said when choosing locations, the store’s top priority is meeting customers’ needs.

“The company looks for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice,” she wrote. “We know convenience is a major factor in our customers’ shopping decisions as we generally serve customers within a three- to five- mile radius, or 10-minute drive.

“We also take demographic trends, competitive factors, traffic patterns and community concerns into consideration,” she said.

The store would employ six to 10 people, she wrote.

Mark Benson, of St. Albans, started a petition to Dollar General on Change.org, asking the corporation not to build the store.

Benson wrote that he moved to the area to get away from businesses.

“The whole neighborhood is up in arms and we can’t imagine a store being placed in between all these beautiful homes and beautiful land,” Benson wrote. “I understand this area doesn’t have zoning laws but why not build it just down the road where there is already an area that has a building that is empty. That lot would be fine and you don’t have to clear any trees or displace the community.”

The petition asks the company to “sell it to back to the residents,” but the company says it’s only considering the property.

So far, 501 people have signed the online petition and there’s a goal of 1,000 signatures. It’s unclear how many of signatures are from people who actually live in the area. Benson could not be reached for comment.

Ghassemi said she anticipates a final decision on the store to be made in Spring 2018.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-1240 or follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

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