MENTOR-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — A growing group of Mentor-on-the-Lake residents is sharing their concerns over a proposal to replace the now-closed St. Andrews Byzantine Catholic with a Dollar General Store within the next year.
Mentor-on-the-Lake homeowners like Earle Kurrass are concerned residents aren't being given a big enough voice in the decision-making process, and believe the 1.6 square mile city already has plenty of small box retail space.
“Within four miles there’s over eight of them, so we just feel that we’re being inundated with these Dollar General’s and we don’t see how that helps us," Kurrass said. “It scares a lot of people and it scares our community because we have a developer that’s a big player that probably has a lot of money and we don’t know if they’re going to sue us if we try to stop this.”
“If Dollar General comes to our community, we know they’re trying to introduce fresh produce and they’re trying to introduce grocery store environments, please make our town one of those. Don’t let us be the same cookie cutter.”
Mentor-on-the-Lake homeowner Tess Turi told News 5 that she's hoping residents will have more input on the proposal at the June 14 city council meeting. Turi said residents still aren't sure if the sale of the church to the Dollar General developer is a done deal.
“When we seek information from our leadership, it seems as though a direct, straightforward, clear answer is very hard to come by," Turi said.
While Mentor-on-the-Lake resident Susan Lenihan is worried if Dollar General builds in her community and fails the city could be left with a mess.
“I think they throw darts and see how many they can get to stick and they don’t all stay open," Lenihan said. “Given the competition in the market you'd think something is going to go, it could be them, and they pull out of here after building that store, and then we have a four-acre lot sitting empty again.”
News 5 reached out to Dollar General Headquarters about the proposal and the company issued the following statement:
At this time, we are currently in due diligence phase for a new Dollar General location in Mentor On The Lake. This means we are reviewing the opportunity to add a new store in Lake County, but we have not committed to doing so just yet. Based on our current timeline, we anticipate having a final decision by fall 2022. Please feel free to check back periodically for updates.
We believe the addition of a new Mentor On The Lake store provides positive economic benefits including additional access to affordable products for customers; the creation of new jobs for local residents and career development opportunities for our employees; the generation of additional tax revenue for the City; and the ability for local nonprofits, schools and libraries to apply for literacy and education grants through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Our customers are at the center of all that we do, and meeting their needs is our top priority when choosing store locations. In selecting store sites, we take a number of factors into consideration, carefully evaluating each potential new store location to ensure we can continue to meet our customer's price, value and selection needs.
Mentor-on-the-Lake Mayor Dave Eva responded immediately to our story and assured residents they will have input on the project, which he said would ultimately be voted on by city council.
News 5 will follow up on this developing story.