By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent
Thursday’s magic number was 7,000.
That’s 7,000 Dollar General stores for the Nashville-based chain; a $7,000 prize giveaway for customers; and a $7,000 donation from Clovis’ newest retail store to Clovis Community College’s adult basic literacy program.
One company CEO, one New Mexico governor and about 200 people were on hand for the store’s grand opening at 21st and Prince streets on Thursday morning.
“We’re trying to build the economy of this state, but also in rural areas,” said Gov. Bill Richardson, who also used the store’s opening to push a balanced budget, a state surplus, and tax-cutting measures.
Later, the New Mexico governor expressed gratitude to Dollar General’s expansion into the state.
“This is jobs for Clovis,” he said. “This is a good store and a good national chain and they’re going to have 30 stores in New Mexico by the end of the year. They’ve made an investment in us and I, as governor, wanted to be here to show my appreciation and support.”
Dollar General opened its first store in Clovis three months ago. Similar stores have also opened in the city recently, including Dollar Tree and Family Dollar.
Dollar General CEO David Perdue said his chain is focusing on smaller, rural communities for expansion.
“It’s an underserved customer,” he said.
Clovis Community College was among the first to benefit from the new outlet.
Becky Carruthers, assistant vice-president for education services at CCC, said Dollar General’s $7,000 donation would help the college’s literacy classes move into the community.
“What we’ve always wanted to do is to kind of branch off-campus, into some neighborhood sites,” Carruthers said. “We’re hoping to provide some classes at community centers and schools in the county — for people who can’t come to our campus.”