Like many Augusta residents, Tammie Harvell lives in a food desert, so she must drive several miles to the nearest grocery store.
Harvell lives in McBean – a tiny rural community in Hephzibah. “It’s nine miles to Food Lion and thirteen to Waynesboro,” she states. Harvell explains she wishes there were closer grocery store options, but she doesn’t prefer shopping at Walmart. While large grocery store chains, such as BI-LO have gone out of business, Dollar General fills in the gaps in food deserts. Hephzibah alone has a few Dollar General stores, including locations on Brown Road and Highway 88.
The company, which has numerous locations throughout Augusta, opened another store at 802 Stevens Creek Road (see photo at top) in a residential area on Wednesday, July 28. This location has a much larger selection of frozen food items than other local Dollar General stores. The company is considering opening another location in Augusta, according to Katie Ellison, Dollar General’s senior manager of public relations. “We are reviewing the opportunity to add a new store in Richmond County, but we have not committed to doing so just yet,” says Ellison. “Based on our current timeline, we anticipate to have a final decision by early 2022.”
The proposed store would be located at 1193 Bennock Mill Road in a rural area off Mike Padgett Highway in South Augusta, according to Juli Means, marketing director for Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate. “Dollar General concepts are growing and evolving to fit the needs of underserved areas where other grocers don’t conveniently serve,” says Means. “Jordan Trotter is honored to work with Dollar General to seek out those locations and bring groceries, healthy food options, health and beauty aids, and home goods to both rural and urban areas that lack these goods and to provide more convenient shopping options.” This location would be a little over seven miles from the Food Lion located at 3722 Mike Padgett Highway and just a few miles from McBean.
John Bernard lives in an urban area, but he still has limited access to grocery stores. Bernard, who lives behind Barney’s Pharmacy on Peach Orchard Road in South Augusta, is wheelchair-bound, so traveling to a grocery store is an even greater challenge. “I used to shop at Save-A-Lot until they closed,” he explains. The Augusta Commission has approved the construction of a new Aldi store located at 3121 Peach Orchard Road – the site of a former University Hospital clinic. “That’s still a little too far for me,” Bernard states.