By Wendy Corr, Jennifer Kocher and Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A plan by Dollar Tree to begin offering some items at prices that exceed the chain’s well known $1 limit is ruffling some feathers among the store’s Wyoming customers.
However, some of the patrons of the state’s 10 Dollar Tree outlets said they understood the need for the company to raise some prices.
“It doesn’t bother me, because I can afford it,” said Donna Lynn Murray in Cody. “But I’m sure for the people who need that cheaper price, it will hurt.”
The corporation recently announced it would be offering some new items for $1.25 or $1.50 to help offset rising costs resulting from inflation, shipping and labor, as well as to boost profit margins for investors.
“What? Then can you really call yourself the Dollar Tree?” said Jami Grosz, a Cody resident, half-jokingly. “Will they now be called the ‘Two Dollar Tree?’”
But Grosz said she understood the need for the change.
“I mean, it’s still pretty cheap, even if it’s a dollar,” she added. “And I do understand, in this economy, everyone is going to have to raise prices.”
Over in Gillette, some longtime customers were less sympathetic to the price hike. Writing on the local store’s Facebook page, several customers took umbrage that the chain store will now carry items that cost more than $1.
“Will no longer shop there after price change, basically another $5 below, or Dollar General with prices higher than Walmart prices,” Shane Cody wrote on the page. “Shame. I guess Walmart is the one stop shop.”
Dawn Franklin agreed.
“I guess my favorite part of shopping there is over, now that you’re adding items that are more than $1,” she wrote.
Jessica Barrilleaux, assistant manager of the Gillette Dollar Tree, attempted to clear up confusion regarding the price hikes, noting in her comment to a post that the store is “not raising the price on everything” and that “if it was a dollar it will remain a dollar” and that the company is just adding new merchandise that will be priced between $1.50 and $5.
One unhappy customer urged the company to make it clear what items will cost more than $1.
“Any price increases better be clearly marked on all products or I’ll leave them at the cash register,” the customer wrote.
Other customers like Gillette’s Alexandra Luckett were more sympathetic to the inevitability of inflation.
“Having worked in wholesale and sourcing goods from China, I’m surprised DT was able to keep retail price points at $1 for so long,” she wrote on the group’s page. “Because they buy such huge quantities, that has helped. But please do the math…you have to factor in what China charges. For the time, cost of labor, shipping goods on a container ship, duty, inflation, etc. I think they are doing a fantastic job. Especially with the Crafting, Seasonal and Storage/Organizational departments.”
Rikki Cruz of Cheyenne said she doesn’t mind the increase in prices, but she hopes the extra money goes back to the stores.
“I personally don’t care that Dollar Tree raised their prices, but I do care that maybe they use the money they get from the increase to revamp their stores a little bit,” she said. “$1.50 is still cheaper than most places!”