Other sites under review in county
Dollar General, a nationwide chain with more than 17,000 stores in 46 states, is exploring the possibility of opening a new store in Twisp and in other towns in the region.
“At this time, we are currently in due diligence phase for a new Dollar General in Twisp, Washington that would be located off East Methow Valley Highway,” said Dollar General Corporation Public Relations specialist Angela Petkovic by email. The site under consideration is near Burton Street, she said.
“This means we are reviewing the opportunity to add a new store in Okanogan County, but we have not committed to doing so just yet,” Petkovic said. “Based on our current timeline, we anticipate to have a final decision on this by spring 2022.”
The town of Twisp hasn’t received a formal application, but an engineer working for Dollar General contacted Twisp Town Planner Kurt Danison of Highlands Associates three or four months ago with a site plan and a list of questions. Danison also heard from a sign designer for the company. Danison hasn’t heard from the engineer since then, he said.
“Until I actually see a building permit, it’s still a rumor,” Danison said. “People poke around all the time.”
The engineer also prepared a site plan for Bridgeport in Douglas County, said Danison, who handles planning for most towns in Okanogan County. Dollar General has also leased the former Yancey’s Pateros Hardware building, which is about 3,500 square feet, Danison said. Yancey’s closed in 2019.
The site plan under consideration for Twisp is for a 10,500-square-foot building on an existing parcel, Danison said. Twisp’s zoning code allows for commercial structures up to 25,000 square feet.
The consultant asked Danison if Twisp’s zoning would allow for 35 parking spaces. Because the zoning code would require 50 or 55 parking spaces for a store of that size, the company would need to obtain a variance to provide fewer spaces, Danison said. The variance process would entail a public hearing, he said.
Other than the parking situation, there would be no special requirements for the store — just a building permit, an access permit for Highway 20, and a sign permit, Danison said. The project would also have to go through the State Environmental Policy Act review.
“A part of our due diligence phase includes securing all necessary permits to ensure that we can move forward with a project should we decide to at the conclusion of that process,” Petkovic said. The Twisp project is the only one in the due-diligence phase in Okanogan County, she said.
Danison heard again from the engineer about the Bridgeport site within the past few weeks. Dollar General was also reviewing a similar site plan for Brewster, but they haven’t submitted a plan there, Danison said.
Focus on small towns
Dollar General was founded in 1939. The company focuses on small towns — 70% of their stores are in communities with a population of less than 20,000, according to their website.
“In selecting store sites, we take a number of factors into consideration, carefully evaluating each potential new store location to ensure we can continue to meet our customers’ price, value and selection needs. We further strive to provide convenience for customers who may not have affordable nearby retail options,” Petkovic said.
“Dollar General stands for convenience, quality brands and low prices. Dollar General’s stores aim to make shopping a hassle-free experience. We design small, neighborhood stores with carefully-edited merchandise assortments to make shopping simpler. We don’t carry every brand and size, just those our customers want the most,” they said on their website. In addition to selling mainstream brands, the company has several of its own brands.
Dollar General has stores in small towns across Washington, including several in the Yakima area and one in Connell and one in Napavine. Their corporate offices are in Tennessee.
The majority of their products are priced below $10, and about one-fourth cost $1 or less, according to the company’s website.