SOUTH FORK— The new Dollar General officially opened its doors in South Fork on September 9.
The Dollar General has a rich history that fits in nicely with the surrounding community of South Fork. Founder James Luther (J.L.) Turner’s father died in an accident in 1902 when J.L. was only 11. J.L. quit school so he could work on the family farm and help provide for his mother and siblings and never completed his education. J.L. knew his limited education demanded that he become a quick study of the world around him. After two unsuccessful attempts at retailing, J.L. became a traveling dry goods salesman for a Nashville wholesale grocer. J.L. left the sales job after 10 years and settled his family in Scottsville, Kentucky
During the Depression, he began buying and liquidating bankrupt general stores. J.L.’s only child, Cal Turner Sr., accompanied his father to these closeouts at a young age, gaining valuable business knowledge and skills. In October 1939, J.L. and Cal opened J.L. Turner and Son Wholesale with an initial investment of $5,000 each. Wholesaling quickly gave way to retailing – J.L.’s third and final attempt at retailing. The switch to retailing resulted in annual sales above $2 million by the early 1950s, and the rest is history.
The first Dollar General store opened in Springfield, Kentucky on June 1, 1955, and the concept was simple – no item in the store would cost more than one dollar. The idea became a huge success and other stores owned by J.L. Turner and his son Cal Turner Sr. were quickly converted. By 1957, annual sales of Dollar General’s 29 stores were $5 million.
The store will generate jobs for the community and offer a wide variety of goods. According to sources, there will be an average of seven employees with the possibility of more as the busy season approaches in South Fork. The business will also add to the sales tax collected in town, helping boost and stabilize the economy.
There will be an open house held at the new store located just west of town off of Highway 160 on Saturday, Sept. 23. The store will be handing out gift cards, Dollar General gear and some merchandise. Stop by and welcome the new store to the area.
Caption: The new Dollar General opened their doors on Sept. 9 and will be hosting an open house on Saturday, Sept. 23. Photo by Lyndsie Ferrell