Sam Jones | The Echo
Upland's Dollar$mart store, soon to be known as Walnut Creek Country Market, will be rebranding and redesigning the store to keep up with it's newest competitor, Dollar General.
Mike Planalp, owner of Dollar$mart and other stores throughout Grant County, made a statement regarding the recent development.
"Big companies come into markets and tend to force smaller operators out of business," Planalp said. "Our stores, though smaller, already compete very well with giant chains like Walmart Inc., Kroger and German based Aldi. Dollar General is no different. Our new grocery format will be priced aggressively with expanded variety and services as well as a hometown atmosphere."
According to Planalp, the locals of Upland are in support of Dollar$mart. The town board made the decision to open this opportunity for the Dollar General. The Dollar General currently has a 20 year lease with this location, so they will not be leaving Upland anytime soon.
Along with changing the name of the business, Planalp also plans to redesign the store for maximized customer satisfaction. Some of these changes include the addition of new meat items, fresh goods from Walnut Creek Amish country, a line of baked goods from Concannon's Bakery in Muncie and a selection of gluten-free items for customers with a more limited diet.
In addition to new food, Dollar$mart will also be adding a pet care section featuring Nunn-Better pet foods, based out of Evansville, Indiana.
The addition of more local goods will hopefully push a customer base that recognizes the importance of locally produced goods.
Dollar$mart is also aligned with the Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) the largest independent grocery chain in the nation. The mission of IGA is to give local markets a chance to compete with larger chains.
"The Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) was founded in 1926 to bring family owned, local grocery stores together under the IGA brand," the IGA website said. "Nearly a century later, the support of a nationally known brand is still giving IGA grocers the ability to better compete, while at the same time, allowing them to stay true to who they are - hometown store owners in a position to meet the needs of their unique communities."
The alignment of Dollar$mart with the IGA is an accurate reflection of the intentions of Dollar$mart's vision, an emphasis on the importance of local business.