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20 Things You Didn't Know About Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree

For years people shopped at popular dime stores, or ‘five and dimes’, as they were often referred to. Hard financial times are normal and having a place to shop that sells affordable merchandise for everyone is a luxury that people were happy to have. Decades ago, however, the dollar store became just as popular, the reference to the dollar instead of the dime has been in keeping with the changing financial times, and inflation, as well.

And there are several different dollar stores to choose from, depending on where you live. But only one particular dollar store in particular actually charges only one dollar…and that would apply to everything in the store. It’s legit: Dollar Tree meant it when they put the word ‘dollar’ in their name, because everything in their stores will cost patrons only a dollar, and they carry everything from paper towels to shoe polish, and much, much more.

We thought it would be fun to create a list about Dollar Tree…one of our ’20 Things’ lists, of course. Since the store has done a lot to contribute to the current pandemic situation when it comes to how they function and how they are serving those in their communities during the trying times. According to three different press releases put out by the company, they have committed to closing at 8pm during these trying times, they would give their employees pay incentives for the hard work and die-hard commitment they have given Dollar Tree as an employer, and they would work to hire 25,000 new employees. Not only that, but they are devoting the first operating hour in every one of their stores to the at-risk customer, giving them a chance to shop and get the things they need before the daily rush kicks in.

As a way of saying thanks, let’s check out twenty facts about Dollar Tree that are little-to-un-known to most all of us. You will find the list below, with the facts listed in no particular order. We think you’ll be surprised at what you are about to learn regarding the low-cost retail giant.

1. Roots

The store we now know as Dollar Tree actually began back when Ben Franklin opened a store in Ward’s Corner in Norfolk, Virginia. But not only did K. R. Perry open those doors, he was joined by Perry’s son, Doug, Macon Brock, and Ray Compton, all of whom were dabbling in discount ($1.00) store ownership at the time. These fresh ideas were the prototypes for the Dollar Tree we have today, with a focus on maintaining a retail atmosphere where all merchandise had a single price: a dollar.

2. Changes Over the Years

So, the legend began. In reality the first store was called ‘K & K Toys’, but before long it was known as ‘K & K 5&10’. The store was also considered a concept for what we know as the ‘mall’, with just about everything under one roof that there was to offer. It didn’t take long for the store to grow to more than 130 stores located up and down the east coast. And as we all know, the numbers today are astronomical, having grown by leaps and bounds.

3. The Buck Stops Here

You may be surprised to learn that the Dollar Tree is famous for much more than selling their wares for only $1. The ‘single-price-point’ retail store is also the largest of its kind in all of North America, not to mention the fact that it has also enjoyed the most success. Since the store’s roots can be traced back sixty years it’s no wonder; after all, they have the most experience doing what they do, and they know what works.

4. What Are They Giving Back?

This is a question that most definitely deserves to be answered. Dollar Tree does give back the public; in fact, they are involved in making contributions to several well-deserving charities. For instance, they focus on tomorrow’s leadership by contributing to the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges’ ‘Brighter Future’ Scholarship Program, which provides students who show potential regarding their future and are financially in need with scholarships. They also give support to ‘Operation Homefront’ and ‘Growing Wetlands in the Classroom’, two more very worth non-profit organizations with goals that are in keeping with the Dollar Tree mission.

5. Speaking of Missions, What is Dollar Tree’s?

Yes, Dollar Tree does, indeed, have a mission, and it reads as follows: “Dollar Tree, Inc. is a customer-oriented, value-driven variety store operating at a one dollar price point. We will operate profitably, empower our associates to share in its opportunities, rewards and successes; and deal with others in an honest and considerate way. The company's mission will be consistent with measured and profitable growth.” Not only does their mission clearly reflect their concern for pricing, but it touches base on making sure all of its dealings, with the public as well as its employees, remain fair and above-board, and that those same dealings remain profitable in a manner that is measurable.

6. Employee Alignment, In A Nutshell

According to Comparably, Dollar Tree has such an effective mission which, when combined with their vision and values, has resulted in motivating 45% of their employees. Employees were asked what the most important thing about their work was, besides getting paid, and 6% answered that the mission was the most important, while 13% stated that they feel most loyal to the vision and mission of the company. The attitude of their employees shows their loyalty, and it is said that this can be attributed to the company having such solid views and such a clear mission, which they operate by on a daily basis.

7. Why ‘Dollar Tree’?

There was a point in the past that the Dollar Tree was actually called ‘Only $1’, but it was changed just in case the store decided to raise the prices on some items, rather than sell all of their merchandise for $1. To date, however, the items in their stores continue to stay at the low, low price of a buck, which is contrary to the pricing in most stores that claim to be ‘dollar’ stores. Hopefully, this stays the same for some time to come.

8. Operational Facts

First off, Dollar Tree is a Fortune 500 company, which means they have made Fortune’s listing according to their earnings, assets, capitalization, and sales. At the current time there are more than 15,000 Dollar Tree locations in the forty-eight contiguous states and Canada, and the stores are all operated with the support of eleven distribution centers that function in a ‘nationwide logistics network’.

9. Does the Same Company Run Other Stores?

In fact, it does. Not only do they run Dollar Tree stores, they also run another $1-and-less store called ‘Dollar Bill’s’ along with Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, and Dollar Giant. However, you may be more familiar with another of their stores, a multi-priced discount chain called ‘Family Dollar’, which also has a very high number of locations around the United States.

10. With All Those Stores, How Much Does Dollar Tree Make?

To make a long story short, during the first half of 2019 went from making $12.2 million to bringing home $3.38 billion (the increase came after they acquired the Family Dollar chain. While Dollar General is able to show very comparable numbers, Dollar Tree is confident theirs will continue to grow due to changes being made to the newly acquired Family Dollar chain.

11. But WHY Are Their Products So Cheap?

There are a number of reasons, but the most ‘price-cutting’ are also the most obvious. First of all, much of the merchandise sold is actually closer to their expiration date, or generally older, or even slightly damaged, or from a damaged carton (though the damage is likely not seen with the eye). Also, since they sell their goods individually (not in bulk), they are able to lower individual unit prices, while the reality of the situation is that you aren’t really getting the best deal. The truth is that if you sit down and do the math, that is easy to see. Buying in bulk is better,but is realistically not always feasible.

12. Man Shall Not Live by Name Brand Alone

There are, of course, other reasons why things are so inexpensive at Dollar Tree. Another one is that they also sell merchandise that is labeled with their brand, which is technically considered ‘private label’. But typically, the products, though of quality, are far from top-of-the-line and are much more comparable to generic products quality-wise. This helps them be able to cut costs so that their prices are much more luring and appealing to shoppers. If you’re a shopper who is partial to private label products, you should be pleased to learn this, if you didn’t know it already.

13. Where is the Dollar Tree Headquarters Located?

The Dollar Tree headquarters is located in Chesapeake, Virginia, which is just under six-and-a-half miles from Norfolk, where the very first store was opened. So, in keeping with how things are normally done, the company has kept their headquarters in the very area of their origin. This is common practice among corporations, as you likely know.

14. A Single Buck BBQ?

Here's something you may not know, simply because it isn’t done at all Dollar tree locations. Every now and then some Dollar Tree locations will step out of the norm and sell steaks for…you guessed it…a buck. If the Dollar Tree you shop at has a freezer section, there is a chance that the periodically sell ribeye steaks for only a dollar apiece. So, if you’re looking to prepare a steak dinner but have only pocket change, Dollar Tree may just be your solution. Oh, yes…the brand, in case you're wondering, is 'Stampede'.

15. Inexpensive Business Delivery Services

Dollar Tree may be in retail merchandise, but the have their fingers in many pies, to say the least. Customers can enlist Dollar Tree's business delivery services. There is no membership fee to use the service, and you also don’t have to worry about any minimum order requirements whatsoever. Goods are still just one dollar, and shipping is free, and there is even an in-store pickup option available. 'Direct to Business’s as the service is called, delivers primarily in industries which include:

  • • Janitorial/Cleaning services
  • • Gift and Flower shops
  • • To non-profit and religious organizations
  • • Hotels, motels, restaurants, and bars
  • • Care facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes, and
  • • Event planning establishments and weddings.

16. 'Bonus Buys'

What are bonus buys? If this is one of the questions fluttering around madly in your mind, rest assured we are here to clear things up. Bonus Buys are one way Dollar Tree grabs the attention of the Internet shopper's attention. Everything from food to household goods to makeup and cosmetics can be purchased, and extra items are consistently tossed in free of charge. The best part? Everything is still just a buck (except the free stuff, of course).

17. What, If Anything, SHOULDN'T Be Bought There?

According to Slice, consumers should steer clear of items such as USB chargers, soda pop, headphones, ear buds, toys, knives, batteries, and tools when shopping at Dollar Tree, or any dollar establishment, for that matter. This is for the simple reason that consumers will likely be able to score better on these items at another store.

18. Maybe You've Thought About A Franchise…

So, running your own Dollar Tree store sounds like a good idea, huh? Well, if that’s the case you'd better look for a job as a manager, because Dollar Tree does NOT offer franchise opportunities. Indeed, Forbes states that the interested party will need more than dollars to own their own; they just aren’t for sale.

19. A Mere Three Categories…

Dollar Tree sells many things, but they are able to fit all that merchandise into three categories: Variety, Consumable, and Seasonal. According to Forbes, items such as gifts, greeting cards, toys, party supplies, and the like. Consumables include food, consumable household supplies, and cosmetics, health care, and other beat goods. Seasonal products range from holiday goods to items that are season-based. As you likely know, there is just about everything you can imagine at Dollar Tree.

20. What Is the Name of Their Parent Corporation?

As we know, Dollar Tree was started more than 60 years ago by a group of men with a vision. However, in 1993 it was bought out by private equity firm SKM Partners, with CEO Gary Philbin at the helm. SKM has successfully grown the company through buyouts and smart changes into the giant it is today

We all know Dollar Tree, or at least most of us do. If we haven’t purchased something there we have probably browsed, at the very least, and that more than once. Many of us makes hopping there part of our weekly shopping ritual, and wouldn’t know what to do without them. I’m sure I speak for most all of us when I say that we hope the next ten years brings the retail chain even more success than before; we want to enjoy Dollar Tree's low prices for many years to come.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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