Dollar General Forced to Temporarily Close Multiple Stores for Safety Hazards
LOCAL FIRE MARSHALS HAVE SAID CERTAIN LOCATIONS OF THE BARGAIN CHAIN HAVE DANGEROUS CONDITIONS.
Your local Dollar General store can be a valuable resource for anyone shopping on a budget or looking to save money. Many shoppers count on the retailer's locations being filled with everyday essentials and groceries at low prices. Recently, however, the chain hasn't been without its fair share of controversies affecting customers, including allegations of overcharging. And now, Dollar General is facing a different set of issues as it's been forced to temporarily close multiple stores over safety hazards. Read on to see why some local officials are calling out the discount chain for dangerous conditions.
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Local officials have forced some Dollar General stores to temporarily close over serious safety violations.
Empty shelves became a common sight for shoppers during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as supply chain issues created temporary shortages. But now, Dollar General appears to be facing the exact opposite problem: In recent months, several stores have been forced to temporarily close by local officials due to a glut of products creating fire hazards, Insider reports.
In one recent instance in November, customer complaints led to an inspection of a store in Gretna, Virginia, that uncovered multiple safety concerns. Officials there said they had visited the store multiples times in the weeks leading up to the temporary closure.
"There were carts full of stock to be put onto the shelves, partially blocking the aisles," Christopher Key, director of public safety for Pittsylvania County, told the Chatham Star-Tribune. "Also, it lacked sufficient clearance between the height of the stock and the ceiling. The heating system was inoperable and the electric panels blocked."
Officials have received complaints about cluttered aisles and fire hazards at other shuttered locations.
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Since then, the retail chain has seen other locations briefly closed for similar reasons. On Dec. 2, the retailer had to shut down another store in Mondovi, Wisconsin, for several days after it failed a follow-up fire inspection amid customer complaints.
"The biggest violations was the means of egress of the customers and the firefighters if needed," Steve Anderson, Mondovi Fire Chief, told local ABC affiliate WQOW. "Aisles were kind of blocked. The back room was blocked. [Those are] some of the situations we had to get corrected."
And just last month, two North Carolina Dollar General stores in Vilas and Zionville were forced to temporarily close over safety issues, The Watauga Democrat reported. In this case, fire inspectors "found the stores with aisle and exits blocked," prompting a temporary closure until the dangerous conditions were cleared.
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Employees have also reported serious problems at their locations.
Customer complaints have led to many of the inspections and subsequent temporary closures, and they're not alone in voicing their frustrations. In a TikTok video posted last November, Travis Bennett, an assistant manager at a Dollar General in Anderson, Indiana, highlighted just how jam-packed his location had become with overstock items.
The worker's video runs down an aisle filled with plastic crates before showing "rolltainers" placed at each end cap and stacked boxes covering what appears to be an emergency exit. He then shows the store's back storage room, which is so overfilled with boxes of product backstock that he can't access the coolers to put away a recently received milk delivery.
"We are in a position we cannot get ourselves out of. We are overloaded with freight," he says in the video. "This is the condition of most Dollar General stores across the country."
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Dollar General told Best Life: "As a growing retailer serving thousands of communities across the country, Dollar General is committed to providing a safe work environment for its associates and shopping experience for its customers."
"We regularly review and refine our safety programs, and reinforce them through training, ongoing communication, recognition, and accountability. When we learn of situations where we have failed to live up to this commitment, we work to timely address the issue and ensure that the company's expectations regarding safety are clearly communicated, understood, and implemented," they wrote in an email.
Dollar General isn't the only discount store coping with serious on-site safety issues.
While Dollar General is contending with its on-site issues, it's not the only store of its kind that's faced consequences for unsafe conditions recently. On Feb. 23, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that it has issued new citations to Dollar Tree Inc. after inspecting the company's store in Mount Pleasant, Texas. The agency said that it had found the location guilty of three "serious" repeat violations since it began an investigation in Sept. 2022.
According to OSHA's findings, unsafe conditions in the store included obstructed exit routes, blocked walkways, and unsafe storage. The agency cited such hazards as potential trip hazards from items such as mop buckets and boxes and potential falling object hazards from boxes stacked higher than nine feet.
As a result, the agency proposed penalty fines totaling $254,478, giving the chain 15 business days to contest the findings. In a statement to Best Life at the time, Dollar Tree spokesperson Kristin Tetreault said that the company was taking the concerns identified at its Mount Pleasant store "seriously" and had already "remediated the issues."