Over the last year, the proposal for a new Dollar General in Henniker received mixed reviews from town residents and New England College students. Despite setbacks, the Henniker planning board approved the building on July 13th, 2016.
Dollar General celebrated their opening day last month in August. According to the Dollar General website, this officially marks the 28th store to open in New Hampshire. Henniker residents required the store’s open to close times comply with town quiet hours and blend in with the town building styles.
According to the Henniker town Facebook page, residents agree it has satisfied these standards. “Dollar General is esthetically built, the staff is so friendly and helpful, and prices can’t be beat!” posted one Henniker resident.
For New England College students, the new Dollar General gives a new opportunity for shopping within walking distance of campus. With many students traveling from cities outside the rural New Hampshire area, the addition of a budget-friendly store close to campus has sparked an enthusiastic reaction.
“I personally like the arrival of the Dollar General because it is more convenient, especially for the students who do not have cars on campus,” said Joslyn Gallagher, a junior. Gallagher is from Fitchburg, Massachusetts and said back home, “there are tons of Family Dollars, Dollar Generals and Dollar Trees and I use them all the time.”
New England College students without cars on campus or who don’t want to drive to Hillsborough, often visit College Convenience or the Henniker Pharmacy for items they need throughout the semester. But, with a Dollar General also within walking distance, many students have opted for the longer walk for a better discount.
“I’ve been going more towards Dollar General recently because it is so much cheaper for the same items,” said college student, Tyler Ridlon. “Money is important in college so the cheaper the better, and the quality of products is about the same.”
The most common items NEC students have purchased at Dollar General have been simple school supplies that they can get for a less expensive price than Henniker Pharmacy or at the on-campus bookstore.
“Cheaper is better when it comes to college students,” said Gallagher. She also explained that College Convenience and the Pharmacy have a strict minimum purchase amount if using a credit card to pay. This has caused students to purchase more than what they need to meet the minimum amount when checking out.
Across the street from Dollar General is a family owned grocery store, New Harvester Market. The store has been around for 25 years servicing residents of Henniker and the surroundingcommunities.
Part owner Vinny Aurilio told Concord Monitor there hasn’t been an impact on sales since the Dollar General opened nearly a month ago.
“It might as well not be there,” he said.
While many students are embracing the new store, many don’t feel there was a need for another Dollar General with one less than 10 minutes from the campus in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.
“I think Dollar General in Henniker is pointless,” said New Jersey native Shaun Madden. He explainedthat while price is a factor for him, a cheaper price tag often comes with a cheaper quality product.
Tristan Wait also agrees that while Dollar General provides more options for students, “the Pharmacy and Coco’s is closer and easier” to walk to. Wait also says he “tends to buy better quality items” while at school with his savings from summer break.
From student’s perspectives, it simply has to do with how far they want to walk to pay less for what they’re buying.
“It doesn’t degrade the town, however it doesn’t make it better,” said Madden.