They are a common and quick place to shop, but some cities are concerned about dollar stores contributing to residents' poor diets.
"The idea that most of these areas lack shopping opportunities for fresh food is actually no longer true," says Steven Malanga, senior editor of City Journal, a quarterly magazine of urban affairs published by the Manhattan Institute.
"There actually have been hundreds of supermarkets around America that have been opened in poor areas as part of a program to expand health choices over the years," he continues. "[Economists say] it hasn't really made a big difference in the health outcomes because essentially people buy the food that they want to eat – not the food that the government is telling them they have to eat."
Still, cities such as Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, and Birmingham have passed restrictions on dollar stores. AL.com reports Birmingham even changed its zoning to increase access to fresh food.
"We are in crisis mode right now," Council member John Hilliard told AL.com. "Our kids in school can't concentrate. They don't have the fresh fruits and vegetables in their community."
But Malanga argues "it's just part of a growing trend by cities, often times animated by activists, to ban or restrict things, even though there is no actual evidence that doing this will achieve what the cities want to [achieve]."
Malanga doesn't think it will stop with just dollar stores. "You can change zoning restrictions to limit the number of, let's say, drive-through fast-food restaurants," he says.
Read Malanga's related article: Unjust Deserts