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New discount store opens on Main Street

From Dollar Tree to Just a Dollar.

Carol Vilhauer and Leimomi Russell, both of Mitchell, worked at Dollar Tree in Mitchell for years -- that is, until they decided to go into business for themselves. Now, Vilhauer and Russell are co-owners of Just A Dollar, a discount store that opened April 6 in the strip mall at 1307 N. Main St. in Mitchell.

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It took months and a lot of help from family and friends, but the business has finally started to take shape, Vilhauer said in an interview Monday with The Daily Republic.

“It’s kind of scary, but it’s exciting,” she said.

Vilhauer said she and Russell are looking forward to the freedom that comes with running their own business, especially after so many years working at Dollar Tree.

“We can think here,” she said. “Before we couldn’t think of what we wanted to do. We just had to do exactly what they did.”

Given their years of experience at Dollar Tree, Vilhauer and Russell hope to use that knowledge to their advantage in their new business.

“We know what sells and we know what we want,” Vilhauer said. “We’re able to order that now.”

And experience wasn’t the only thing they took from Dollar Tree -- many of their shelves were bought from a Dollar Tree in Vermillion that went out of business.

At the moment, Just A Dollar has five employees, including Vilhauer and Russell. As the business starts to get off the ground, Vilhauer said its likely more employees will be hired.

Vilhauer said she believes there is a place for an alternative discount store in the city, despite the competition from her former employer.

“We’re going to give them a run for their money, anyway,” she said.

Level Up Family Gaming Center, another new business, also opened earlier this month in the same strip mall as Just A Dollar. Calls made Monday to Level Up Family Gaming Center were not immediately returned.

It’s reassuring, Vilhauer said, to have another new business open nearby.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun work,” she said.