By Leigh Martinez


DENAIR (CBS13) — Denair’s downtown is the kind that if you blink, you miss it. The small valley community in Stanislaus County has just 4,000 residents and five local markets.

At the Village Market on Main Street, not much has changed in the 30 years Johnny Lo has been behind the counter. He knows his customers by name and stocks his shelves, so his neighbors don’t have to drive to Turlock for groceries.

“Oh this small store,” said Lo. “People just hate to go to town and they just come to this small store and get what they want.”

It’s been that way for 30 years, but now Lo will get competition from Denair’s first big corporation. Dollar General got approval from Stanislaus County Supervisors to move in.

“The big operation comes to town and eventually, it’s going to hurt all the small business.”

Dollar General is scheduled to submit construction plans next month to build in an empty field on Main Street and Fresno Avenue. To its left is the Denair Food Center, to the right there’s the Quick Stop.

“We have a lot of stores here, many markets and small business and they’ll take that from us,” said Quick Stop owner Albert Ahid. “We have all of the same things.”

However, some locals said Denair could use more options, so they don’t have to leave town to go shopping.

“The other stores are so far away that it’ll be nice to have something closer like a pharmacy or a part store, something like that,” said Renee Wilson, who hopes Dollar General leads to more businesses moving into town.

Dollar General doesn’t have a pharmacy or auto parts. It sticks to household cleaning supplies, stuff for baby, and general merchandise. The same things Johnny Lo sells. Lo’s customers said they’ll remain loyal to Lo and he shouldn’t fear the new corporation moving in.

“No, I’ll probably keep coming to Johnny,” said customer Jerry Macil.

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