By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2004-07-01 Email Print this article Print

Dollar General opens two new stores every day. The secret isn't Miracle-Gro. Instead, there's a well-honed choreography of human muscle and precision logistics that sets up each new outlet in little more than a week. We take you inside what Dollar General

Day 6 - Tug of War

  • More product stocking

  • Customers hover

  • Closer to the Bahamas

    Clerks practice on the registers. Others load skin cream and diapers onto shelves and clip small stuffed animals onto heavy display string dangling in the toy aisle.

    "Grand Opening" signs are already up in Whitesboro's windows, although the official event won't happen until April 17. Rambus, chatting on his cell phone on the sidewalk, must turn eager customers away. "We're not open yet. Just setting up. Open Friday," he tells an elderly woman who tries to walk in.

    All 50 Dollar General setters meet once a year to hear management's expectations for openings and learn new procedures. At January's meeting, Rambus and Koehn heard about this year's incentive to keep openings as efficient and inexpensive as possible. A cruise to the Bahamas will go to whoever sets up a new store this year in the shortest time using the least amount of payroll.

    It's a tug of war between time and money. Rambus gets Whitesboro done with 17 workers in eight days. Koehn opens Jersey Shore in just seven days but it takes three more people, a total of 20.

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    Senior Writer
    Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

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