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Moratorium proposal stirs controversy

Tulsa city councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper is proposing a controversial moratorium on any new dollar type convenience stores in North Tulsa.  (Howard/KTUL)
Tulsa city councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper is proposing a controversial moratorium on any new dollar type convenience stores in North Tulsa. (Howard/KTUL)
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Between the two of them, they are staples of the North Tulsa landscape.

"We are inundated, saturated with the dollar stores," said Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper.

So much so, that Hall-Harper is looking to impose a temporary moratorium to keep any new ones from popping up.

"It's not to go against any store, in particular, again we just want to make sure that the needs are being met for our community," she said.

Her goal? To help attract full-size grocery stores like Save-A-Lot, which she says will soon open a store at 36th Street North and Peoria, and who sent her a letter which reads, in part;

"While we welcome healthy competition, it is our opinion that a market over-saturated with small, convenience type dollar stores, would negatively affect Honor Capital's ability to add future stores throughout Tulsa's underserved grocery communities," wrote Marcus Scarborough, Vice President of Community Engagement of Honor Capital, the parent company of Save-a-lot.

"I've had a lot of people tell me the Save-a-lot is not what they want," said former Tulsa city councilor Jack Henderson, adamantly opposed to a moratorium.

"Any time that you say 'I want a moratorium to keep somebody out,' that's the city stifling people from going in business," he said.

"There are some people that just don't like moratoriums," said Hall-Harper.

"This little idea about a moratorium to stop small businesses, that's not going anywhere, that's nuts," said Henderson.

The melee over moratorium, and whether or not it's government guidance or getting in the way.

"We need more businesses not less businesses," said Henderson.

"It's not that we're against them, we have plenty. I'm not saying close any down, I'm saying we have enough," said Hall-Harper.

Tulsa's Channel 8 reached out to Family Dollar but did not hear back. Dollar General, however, provided us with the following statement;

"Dollar General prides itself on being today’s neighborhood general store. In keeping with our mission of Serving Others, we strive to locate our stores in areas where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice for both their everyday needs such as paper, food and cleaning products and for more discretionary purchases such as party supplies, seasonal items, and apparel. Dollar General strives to be a good business partner and neighbor in the communities we serve, including through the work performed by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

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As we have not received the final version of the resolution that Council Member Hall-Harper plans to present to Tulsa’s City Council, we cannot comment on its specifics."

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