(AMERICAN GREATNESS) -- TARRS, Pennsylvania — Five years ago, the plot of land where the Dollar General store sits on Glades Pike was just that: a plot of pastoral greenery located near a row of neatly kept homes in an unincorporated village that once briefly boomed as a coal town.
The store’s familiar yellow sign with bold, all-capitalized black letters sits slightly back from rolling Pennsylvania Route 31, which runs parallel to both the turnpike and the Lincoln Highway. For many people in the area, the store serves as a quick stop for a forgotten grocery staple or deeply discounted household goods.
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These places match the service provided by the mom and pop general stores that once dotted rural America for two centuries, or the five-and-dime stores that populated small- and medium-sized towns across the country post-Civil War. They serve a purpose unmet by larger supermarkets unwilling to locate to lower-population regions because the regions make no business sense.