Dollar General weighs building in Combes

COMBES — Is a new Dollar General coming to town?

The retailer has filed documents with the state to build a $600,000 store here on U.S. Business 77 a half-mile south of downtown.

But the company with its ubiquitous stores across the Valley says it’s still weighing its options.

“We are currently in a due diligence phase for a new location on Highway 77 in Combes, which means we’re interested in adding a store in Cameron County, but we haven’t committed to doing so quite yet,” Crystal Ghassemi, a spokesperson for Dollar General, said yesterday. “Based on our current timeline, we anticipate a final decision on this project to be made by late summer 2019.”

A Dollar General would be a major acquisition for the Town of Combes, where retail is pretty much limited to the Stripes No. 2242 on one side of I-69E/U.S. 77 and the Road Ranger truck stop on the other.

“We just got an EDC (economic development) consultant on board, his name is Jared Hockema, and he’s helping us with the transaction,” Mayor Mark Sanchez said yesterday. “We’re trying to do everything we can to make it happen, because we’d like them to come into our town.”

As a bedroom community to Harlingen, Sanchez says a Dollar General would ease some of the problems a lack of retail creates in a town of just over 3,000 people.

“It will be very good for our folks to be able to walk from our original town site and our second town site to a store like Dollar General to buy some of the basic stuff,” he said. “We have a lot of leakage in Combes. We go to the Whataburger in Harlingen, we go to the Wal-Mart in Harlingen, we go to the H-E-B in Harlingen.”

The addition of a Dollar General store would be seen by many as a sign of progress as the town continues to be inconvenienced by the major roadwork on and around State Highway 107. The $3.7 million project began in 2017 but is now more than 80 percent complete and should be finished soon.

“We should be wrapping up the project by next month,” TxDOT engineer Andres Espinoza told the Harlingen-San Benito Metropolitan Planning Organization yesterday.

The location Dollar General is considering is 0.6 miles southeast of Morrison Avenue along U.S. Business 77. The store would be one of the usual Dollar General configurations, consisting of a pre-manufactured metal building at just over 9,000 square feet.

Sanchez hopes the new roadway makes his town more attractive to businesses which may be seeking to locate in the area.

“It’s been a process and the town has gotten our first major drainage plan” as part of the multimillion-dollar highway project, Sanchez said. “We’re looking forward to attracting new businesses on our highway on I-69 East, businesses that produce sales tax.”

Ghassemi said a new Dollar General in Combes would employ around six to 10 employees, depending on the individual needs of the store.