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What's a dollar worth? An independent living

Muskego business competes against larger dollar-store chains

Aug. 17, 2012

Muskego - It might be a little like David stepping into a world of Goliaths, but so far Muskego's Daily Dollar is holding its own, its manager says.

The family-owned, independent dollar store - which opened in July in the Muskego Center Mall, S7819 Racine Ave. - doesn't have the huge buying power of the Dollar Trees chain or others (Dollar General or Family Dollar) that don't sell everything for a dollar.

But store manager Dianna Lowe-Lambert said she and her brother Dan Lowe - who owns the store with his wife, Yadira - sniff out vendor bargains wherever they can and have been pleased with their success so far.

"We try to provide better quality, name brands, if we can," Lowe-Lambert said, adding that she knows a good deal when she sees it. "I'm a dollar store shopper."

So when her brother, who had previously worked in upper management opening restaurants for the Chipotle chain, decided to set out on his own with a dollar store as his first business, she was on board right away.

His idea was simple.

"We wanted to give people more bang for their buck," Lowe-Lambert said.

Daily Dollar's merchandise includes household and hardware items, pet supplies, some food, decorating supplies, toys and balloons.

Taking requests

The store is doing even better than they expected, in part because the store's early patrons are actually helping guide it toward success.

Patrons are invited to request merchandise, which they have been doing with enthusiasm.

How about getting in those little paper umbrellas for drinks? Or decorations and things for luaus? Or rain ponchos and lint rollers? Or a certain kind of dish soap and makeup remover?

Lowe-Lambert said she has been able to find many requested items, which in turn have been great sellers.

Occasionally, she isn't able to find the requested merchandise at a price that would allow the store to sell it for $1. So, she offers the patron the merchandise individually at a special price.

She is finding the store is doing a land-office business in balloons, which come individually, in bouquets or even special-order. One thing she made sure the store offers was oversized balloons that sell at a special price of $4.50.

"I feel people should be able to get a decent price and not pay $11," or even $25, said.

Right price, right place

The brother-and-sister team looked at other communities for the business and settled on Muskego because she said it felt welcoming.

"We liked the feel," she said.

The store has already participated in community work, having donated 120 golf gift bags to a charity golf outing here.

Lowe-Lambert and her family live in Wind Lake. Her brother and his family live in Franklin.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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