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Business Pulse - The buck stops here for Dollar Tree
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Ethan Wolfenbarger, 7, has Christmas fun by placing a wreath around Julliette Turner, 3, as the two spend time in a Roses shopping cart during Black Friday shopping.
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Kim Woodlee, left, chats with Bath and Body Works employee Grayson Hillis in the store on Black Friday.

When it comes to Dollar Tree, you really can say the buck stops here.

The buck is stopping and being replaced by $1.25.

Dollar Tree made the announcement on Tuesday that, due to rising costs, it is being forced to raise the baseline price for most items in the store from $1 to $1.25. Dollar Tree president and CEO Michael Witynski says customers have, for the most part, shrugged off the 25-cent increase.

“Our Dollar Tree pricing tests have demonstrated broad consumer acceptance of the new price point and excitement about the additional offerings and extreme value we will be able to provide,” said Witynski.

The extra 25 cents on every item will allow Dollar Tree to expand its offerings and introduce new products and sizes that it could not provide before while strictly adhering to the $1 cap.

Dollar Tree said it has already begun increasing the prices at its stores nationwide. When I stopped by the McMinnville store on Saturday morning, prices were still happily $1. 

Store employees said they didn't know when prices would be increasing at our local store. That means we better act now and buy everything we can for $1 because we know that price won't last.

Considering the way prices have climbed on nearly everything, I think paying an extra quarter at Dollar Tree is a reasonable request. Being able to buy greeting cards there for $1, or in some cases two for $1, is a tremendous savings over the cards that can cost $3.99 to $6.99 at other stores. So I’ll gladly pay $1.25.

Birthday balloons at $1.25 are also a huge savings over balloons that cost $4.99 or $5.99 at other stores. You can save big on batteries and office supplies too.

While we struggle with this slight change, let’s remember the folks at Dollar Tree during this difficult time. Their whole identity is selling items for $1 and now that identity is shattered. Let’s be considerate and give them time to sort through their feelings. I know it hurts.

Black Friday

Is changing

There’s no doubt Black Friday has changed in just a few short years. Largely gone are the days of customers waiting in line for hours outside a store and then stampeding the guy unlocking the door just to get to a $7.99 toaster oven.

I think this is a positive change.

Here at the Standard, we used to offer our lowest subscription price of the year on Black Friday only. The result was people were waiting outside for hours in a line that extended back to the High’s parking lot.

The Standard has now adopted a strategy similar to other businesses. We offered our low, low one-year subscription price of just $73 for the entire week and the results were glowing. 

So many customers mentioned how much they appreciated the much shorter wait time and we benefitted as well with very strong subscription sales for an entire week. There were people buying multiple subscriptions for themselves and for family members.

At Roses, there weren’t any doorbuster specials on Black Friday, but business was still brisk.

“It’s always a good deal and always good prices when you shop at Roses,” said store manager Holly McDonald. “We’ve had a lot of customers all day.”

Bath and Body Works was its usual beehive of activity on Black Friday with a store special of buy three, get three free. 

“It’s been pretty busy, but not the mad rush as usual,” said Bath and Body store manager Lori Acker. “I think since we started our Black Friday sales on Monday it’s spaced it out more.”

Kim Woodlee was one of the many Bath and Body Works customers finding her Black Friday groove.

“Today there’s so much online shopping, but I enjoy getting out and supporting local businesses,” said Kim. “After I leave here, I’m going to Red Door and Linens & Grace to support some of our local stores. If you look around and see all the stores we’ve lost, that should tell you we need to support the stores we have.”

The stores we’ve lost, most notably JC Penney, do leave a void. And it is somewhat sad to walk around the mall and see a much lower level of activity than the days when Santa used to arrive by parachute and 2,000 people gathered outside to watch him land.

Fortunately, the kids never caught on that it was a very thin Santa who jumped out of the plane and a rather plump Santa inside the mall waiting to hear their Christmas wish list.

Stephanie Dunlap was drawing attention in one of the mall kiosks with her booth called Jewels For You. Dunlap says she will be at the mall a few more times this holiday season, including Dec. 18.

“I have a good price point because almost everything I have is $20 or less,” said Stephanie. “People know when they shop here they can walk away with two or three nice items and still not spend a lot of money.”

Stephanie did operate her business from a fixed location in the store in front of Burch Supply, but she says she enjoys the flexibility of setting up at different locations in a craft fair atmosphere.

“The festivals are where it’s at,” said Stephanie. “When people come, they come to buy.”

Also of note at Three Star Mall is that remodeling work for the VA Clinic is well under way. At the corner spot that was once a jewelry store many years ago, there’s a new glass door in place and new walls too. The VA Clinic will be moving from South Chancery Street to the mall at some undisclosed time in the future.

New store

Opens at Plaza

Plaza Shopping Center is the site for a neat new store called DB&K Sales. It’s located in Suite 105, just a couple doors down from Fiesta Ranchero.

“We really enjoy buying items that keep with our farmhouse style,” said Douglas Herrin who operates the business with his wife Brandy and with the help of their children. “We have a little of everything, all the way from knick-knacks to nice furniture. We buy everything one at a time from antique shows or estate sales. We’re not buying things by the pallet and bringing them here.”

DB&K Sales opened a week ago and had its grand opening on Friday. I had a chance to walk around the store and there’s a selection of tables, chairs, dressers, china, picture frames, lamps, and Christmas items.

Brandy and Douglas both have other jobs and have opened this store as an extension of a hobby they both enjoy. Brandy works at the Nissan engine plant in Decherd and recently moved to a line that’s building a 3-cylinder turbo engine for the new Rogue. 

The 3-cylinder engine is a new innovation for Nissan to enhance fuel economy. That certainly seems like the way the industry is going with either EV or highly fuel efficient vehicles.

Brandy and Douglas have assembled a nice store at the Plaza and they will be filling it with different merchandise all the time. “We’re starting to figure things out but it’s still a work in progress,” said Douglas.

DB&K Sales has long hours of operation for your shopping convenience. The store is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 12 to 8 p.m., and open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The store is closed Sunday.

That’s all folks

We’re officially heading down the home stretch of 2021 and December has typically been a month with a high level of business activity. Let’s hope that trend continues this year.

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