When people say they're opening their own businesses, many times they're service oriented.  Outside of franchises, it's rare to see a store opened by an individual.  Yet, a few have popped up in West Alabama.

Dollar Stop is open in West Tuscaloosa, across from Advance Auto Parts.  It boasts a variety of goods from household products, health and beauty supplies, snacks, and automotive supplies.  April, the store's owner, said it was important to her to open a business that serves the community where she lives.

This was the same thought Eugene Tinker had when he decided to open a store in Sawyerville.  The groundbreaking for Stretch a Dollar was held Friday morning.

According to Tinker, residents in the Sawyerville community have always had to travel to other close cities to purchase everyday items and groceries.  However, his store will have household staples and will include a freezer section for some food items.

This is certainly not a knock against big box stores or chain stores which often serve rural populations, but it is special when residents take it upon themselves to establish stores in their communities.  They've done the research to know what is needed, and they've gone through the processes necessary to fill a void.

Additionally, it is understood that the strength of a community is heavily dependent upon its economy.  People take ownership of the things they helped to build, and when they're built by their neighbors, they have the same sense of pride. The owners have the respect of the community and increase their credibility among their neighbors and friends.

These dollar stores are just the beginning of a resurgence of community-based businesses.  Be sure to be patrons of as many locally owned businesses as possible.

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