PAXTON — Members of the Paxton community will no longer have to drive as far to pick up needed items for their home.

Paxton City Clerk Suzan Imfeld said she contacted Dollar General seven years ago asking them to consider building a store in Paxton. The idea of a new store was put on the back burner until last year when Dollar General let city officials know they were ready.

The store opened last week.

"It's our first big thing for this community," Imfeld said. "We are very proud of it.

"Paxton was considered a food desert," she added. "It has been received very well."

The store, which is located on US Highway 331 less than a mile south of Tom Thumb, is 9,100 square feet.

“We’ve been busy since we opened,” said store manager, David Harrison. “I love it.”

Harrison added the store has had customers from the surrounding towns, along with those who live in the city of Paxton.

“It makes life simpler,” Harrison said. “It’s definitely good for the public.”

Members of the community say they are happy about being able to stay close to home to shop.

“We are very excited,” said Carla Thomas, a customer who lives in Paxton. “I have been several times already.”

Thomas said that she used to have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to the nearest grocery store, but now she's only a minute or two away.

“They have a wide variety of options,” Thomas said. “You can easily do your grocery shopping there.”

“It has a bigger selection of items that I haven’t seen in other Dollar General stores. I was really impressed at how many food items were in the store,” she added.