URBANA, Ill. – Dollar stores in rural areas offer convenience and competitively-priced shopping options for rural residents, but their business models do not always lead to long-term community economic health.

University of Illinois Extension is co-hosting a free online webinar to provide local officials, economic development professionals, and plan commissions a comprehensive look at both positive and negative impacts dollar store development can have on rural economies.

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The webinar will begin noon CT Thursday, Oct. 8. Register at go.illinois.edu/DollarStoreImpact.

“Against the decline of retail in rural areas, the Dollar General chain has expanded significantly,” says Nancy Ouedraogo, Illinois Extension community and economic development specialist. “Before approving new rural development of dollar stores, we encourage local decision makers to inspect the whole-community impact dollar stores could have on a healthy local business sector.

Presenters Adee Athiyaman and Chris Merrett will describe the expansion of dollar stores in Illinois, provide a market profile of communities that host Dollar General stores, explore the profile of consumers who shop at these kinds of stores, and examine positive and negative impacts these stores have on rural Illinois communities.

Athiyaman, Ph.D., is a professor of public policy and economic development at Western Illinois University, and Merrett, Ph.D., is director of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University and serves on the board of directors at Rural Partners of Illinois.

Rural Partners is a member-driven forum that links individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities with public and private resources to maximize the potential of rural Illinois.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. For reasonable accommodation to participate in the webinar, contact Ouedraogo at esarey@illinois.edu. Early registration is encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your request.

SOURCE: Nancy Ouedraogo, Extension Community and Economic Development Specialist
WRITER: Liz Smith, Extension Media Communications Coordinator

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.