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Sonoita residents protest the construction of a Dollar General in their town

Posted at 4:51 PM, Nov 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 11:41:59-05

A small community in Southern Arizona is taking a stand -- against what they say is an attack on their community from a big chain store. Around 100 protesters came together in Sonoita Saturday morning at the construction site for what they've been told will be a Dollar General store.

"It has no reason to be in Sonoita," Frank Wicks said. "It is not a good fit for the community."

One of the big concerns among the protesters is that it doesn't fit the small-town culture and charm. It's a town of 818 people. Another one? It will drive out the family-owned, local businesses that have remained staples of the town for generations.

"It would be devastating for local businesses -- which I think is just unforgivable," Jerry Brothen said. "If we lose the local businesses -- we, I think, essentially lose the community."

Recently, a petition has been going around the town and surrounding area.

"We do not want this invasion. We won't shop here," Melanie Dreisbach said. "We have over a thousand signatures, we only are about a thousand people in this community. This parking lot will be empty -- we will not shop here."

Many of the protesters explained the will not shop at the Dollar General, if it gets built. Bernie Reindl, who works at the Sonoita Mini Mart, a family-owned small business that's been there for more than 40 years, says she thinks her customers will remain loyal -- no matter what.

"Our local people will shop here," she said. "They all support us."

KGUN 9 has reached out to the Dollar General Corporation, land developer, and Sonoita Chamber of Commerce for comment -- and is still waiting on a response.