Dollar Store Services, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, claims to be the largest developer of dollar stores, having opened 3,000 stores since 1994.  Dollar Store Services (also known as Discount Retail Store Services or DRSS) claims it helps individuals open their own independent dollar stores for as low as $59,900 with 100% financing.  How many of the dollar stores DRSS has helped open are successful?  How many of the 3,000 are still in business?  Please share your experience with Dollar Store Services or DRSS with a comment below.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  Dollar Store Services, also known as DRSS Discount Retail Store Services, claims it helps would-be dollar store owners get into business without the disadvantages of a franchise, such as  “higher store package price, regulations, fees, contractual obligations, extreme oversight, and loss of control.”

The Dollar Store Services website states:  “With a starting price of $59,900, you will receive everything you need to open your store, have all work performed by seasoned professionals, and never pay fees or royalties!”

Dollar Store Services claims it provides a host of powerful advantages including:

  • Securing Business Financing
  • Finding A Suitable Retail Space
  • Negotiating a Retail Lease
  • Building Out Your Store
  • Global Merchandise Network
  • Training and Ongoing Support

Dollar Store ServicesDollar Store Services DRSS claim the time is right to open a dollar store:

Dollar Stores are an incredible business opportunity

The fact is that dollar stores are in huge demand today as is evidenced by the dramatic stock price increases for the large corporate owned dollar store chains such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General,Family Dollar and 99 cents only… The success of these industry leaders is also translating into the development of independent dollar stores which are springing up all over the country as entrepreneurs are joining the burgeoning industry.

But some contend that Dollar Store Services DRSS is a sales machine that lures entrepreneurs into investing in a retail concept that is economically unsustainable.

James Wichert’s JWI Wholesale Supplies the Inventory to Dollar Stores

Dollar Store Services was founded and is owned by James Wichert, who also owns JWI Wholesale (JWI) which supplies dollar stores with merchandise.

The JWI Wholesale website claims James Wichert “started in the industry in 1992 when he opened the first dollar store in Nevada… Since he started in the dollar store business, Mr. Wichert has assisted over 2,500 individuals open stores throughout the United States, Canada, and worldwide.”

The Dollar Store Services website lists these individuals as its Executive Leadership:

  • James Wichert – Owner
  • J.D. Gray – Vice President
  • John LaFronz – General Manager of Dollar Store Services
  • Theresa Whitley – General Manager of Mailbox and Business Center
  • Kerry Verd – General Manager of Party Store Developers
  • David Rashidi – Director of Information Technology
  • David Trumble – Operations Manager
  • Cayman Wong – Controller

Are you familiar with Dollar Store Services, DRSS, Discount Retail Store Services, or JWI Wholesale?  What do you think of this business opportunity? Please share a comment below or send an email to this site’s Admin in confidence.

Dollar Store Services Complaint:  High Failure Rate

Martcia Calvillo retired from AT&T after 30 years of service.  In 2012, she signed up with Dollar Store Services and opened her Dollar Store in the Linda Mar shopping center in Pacifico, CA.  She struggled for two years, trying everything she could, from adding Fax Services, Black & White Printing and Copying, and Event Ticket Sales.  She upgraded to Dollar Plus higher ticket merchandise but found that the economic model was just not viable.  Internet comments posted by Martcia indicate that she is not alone:

I opened up my Dollar Store in October 2012. I went to the 3 day training in Las Vegas and they went over all the discount vendor pricing and the .55 cents monthly goal you need to maintain to be successful as a dollar store owner.

They had all the spreadsheets for you to keep track of your inventory and your daily sales. You also get access to their website so you can get the list of their vendors that give the special pricing discount of 20-25% to the [JWI Wholesale] store owners. Sounds really legit.

They also took us to a Dollar Store in Las Vegas that had been open for 4 months for a tour, talk to the owner and ask questions. We did notice that his shelves were a little bare but he told us he was waiting for a shipment. They closed 6 months later.

I had 3 other new store owners in the training with me and we all kept in touch and 6 months later all of us were in the same boat sinking fast. We are all closed but they moved into a smaller store and changed it to a dollar plus and is still struggling from closing the Dollar Store.

Dollar Store Services Complaint:  Overpriced Buildout

Martcia claimed that her buildout was unnecessarily overpriced:

Your build out is overpriced. I had so much leftover slat walls, shelving and hooks taking up space in my storage just like all the other store owners I talked to.

Then you get the keys to your brand new store and a stack of invoices of all the merchandise purchased for your store.

Dollar Store Services Complaint:  High Inventory Costs, Low Profit Margin

Inventory, Profit Margin Issues are another area of concern:

Bottom line STAY AWAY you don’t get 20% to 25% discount from the JWI Wholesale vendors, shipping is costly if you are not careful. Your high turnover items are only your chemicals, food, HBA and paper products that you will NEVER get for under 79 cents…

When you have time to go through all of it you notice that it’s so lopsided. All the great pet supplies, chemicals, HBA and food are over .80 cents and the merchandise under .40 cents is junk.

So now you open your doors and what sells is all your high end items so now any profit you made you have to replenish with the low profit margin of .20 cents on the dollar. Customers start noticing your shelves are a little light and you just tell them you are waiting for a shipment.

Now when go to order your items with these vendors you must have at least $1000.00 order for a full pallet or the item is no longer in stock (which happens a lot).

The JWI Wholesale discount is just pennies off the listed price.  JWI Wholesale now has their own merchandise but it’s a lot of junk and no chemicals, paper products or food just a lot of nothing.

Of course they have a rep assigned to you to help with your ordering but they can only help so much and then they try to get you to buy dollar plus items. Many times they send me specials but most of it is dollar plus items.  I would e-mail them or call and tell them don’t send me anything unless I can profit from it in a Dollar Store

Dollar Store Services Complaint:  Failure Even With Great Location

Martcia claims that her Dollar Store failed despite her best efforts and a very good location:

DRSS is telling new prospective owners that I was in a bad location and this is not true.

My store was making $900 to $1000 a day.

My first opening day I made $1200 and that was a soft open. I was in a very busy location and I couldn’t keep items on my shelf the problem was having the money to purchase because my profit margin was only .20 cents.

All my paper towels, bath tissue, bleach, detergent, food etc .. these are the items people come in looking for and it went fast.  If your lucky you can find it for .69 cents but your not getting a 25% discount like they tell you. And now add in the freight.

Dollar Store Services Client Lost Over $100K, Filing for Bankruptcy

From reading her store’s Facebook page (still online), it appears Martcia made every effort to make her store work, but ultimately had to close in 2015:

I tried very hard to keep my store going but after 2 years it was too hard to keep up.

I had to put additional money out of my pocket and raise prices but once you open up as a Dollar Store it’s difficult to change to a Dollar Plus because your customers can go to Dollar Tree.

I am in the process of filing bankruptcy now and I paid cash to DRSS so I am out over $100,000.00, I wished I would’ve used their financing so I wouldn’t of had to pay back all that money and I would still have money in the bank.

You are looking at 3 to 6 months max and then the downward spiral starts.

I was talking to a store owner and we couldn’t believe that John LaFronz can sleep at night knowing that he left a lot of families filing bankruptcy.

If I can get one person to read this and not make the same mistake I feel like I have succeeded.

Is Dollar Store Services Legit or a Scam?

Martcia isn’t alone in posting harsh criticism and allegations that Dollar Stores Services DRSS is selling a high-risk, high failure rate business proposition.  Some comments include:

As of late 2014 DRSS had opened about 3200 stores but only had about 425 opened at that time.

I simply investigated the 193 videos (YOUTUBE) on Dollar Store Services which they use as a sales tool in their support system to grab sales.

The names of the stores are mentioned and I called these stores. Out of a hundred of their stores, over 90% of all the businesses they are responsible for creating have failed and continued to fail.

DRSS has pretty much ruined my dreams of ever owning my own retail store.

Is Dollar Store Services a disreputable company as these commenters claim, or is this a case of failed business owners not taking responsibility for their own decisions?  Share your opinion below or by contacting us.







TAGS: Dollar Store Services, Discount Retail Store Services, DRSS, JWI Wholesale, Dollar Store Services complaints, DRSS complaints, JWI Wholesale complaints, Dollar  Store franchise, open a dollar store, own a dollar store, James Wichert, J.D. Gray, John LaFronz, unhappy franchisee

5 thoughts on “DOLLAR STORE SERVICES DRSS Complaints

  • August 24, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    you can say DRSS is a scam but I would say it’s unethical. They are in it for the money but not for helping people. Their line of vendors are real companies that have been around for years. We went through them as well. If you go on there website and look up D&R $1 Plus. I think you will find it. Anyways, their vendors will offer minimum order value. If you meet it, then you don’t have to pay freight. Of course, owners will do it just to save the freight cost. Dollar store services will encourage you to do so. However, the end result is that you will over spend it and you will end up with higher loan.

    Another problem is that for people who can’t have liquid cash to pay for the set up and products in the beginning. Dollar store services will tell you to go through Seed Capital. Everyone else including myself thought Seed Capital would apply for business loan with the banks on our behalf…as if they have magic or negotiation power. The company had me fill out a paper and requires $5000 down. I paid and the company came back with a recommendation that suggested me to apply with a bunch of credit card. I assume everyone that goes through Dollar Store Services ends up with a bunch of credit card. These credit cards have high interest rate but you have one year free of interest.

    They will have you go out there and look at the properties, take pictures, and send it back to them. Dollar Store Services said that the employees would search for properties for you. The company means they will search properties from their office with air condition and let you do the hard work. Once they find it, they will tell you to transfer the money to your bank account to pay them even when you’re not even sure to get the space yet. Now you have no choice but to go long with it.

    They will use that money to buy products for you and the products suck. Most of them don’t even sell. After a couple of months we open up our store. We changed everything. Also, we raise prices on most of our items as well. If you factor in rent and other operation cost, selling items at 1 dollar is not going to help your store much. You will end up closing the store within 6 months. For us, it was very fortunate. Lets get back to the story. After they deliver everything like get your lease done, shipped the merchandise, your store is set up, they will give you a stack of invoices, which you will have no idea how much they spent on the products, fixtures, and build out team.

    Most of the items they ordered on your behalf and priced at 1 dollar for you.. those are not even 1 dollar. They under price it and over spent your money. For instance chef craft, we found out that chef craft products are high quality and American made products. cost margin for them is .65-85 cent. How can you survive at .15 profit?

    The cash register Dollar Store services give you is manual. You can’t keep track how much you have in inventory. Owners can easily overspend. That’s what happened to us. Also, the way to calculate the margin,they taught you, is also wrong for this kind of business.

    We are in the process of liquidation and I hope you don’t make the same mistake as I and other owners did. The best is to open up a small drink place or ice cream business. But do your due diligence people.

  • September 11, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I too am a victim of the “unethical” practices of DRSS. The comments provided by Martcia & David were as if I had wrote them myself word for word. Within 3 months of opening my store, I knew that I had been set up for failure.

    The first problem was with so-call guidance & consultation that I received from their Real Estate department. The guidance was inadequate & sent me into an over-priced rent, unprotected. Despite my initial concerns put out to them, I was assured that their team of lawyers & other associates had found me a good deal. It was not.

    The second problem was inventory. The initial inventory was not designed with my customers in mind. After conducting my own due diligence on the demographics, I relayed this information to DRSS before the initial order of merchandise. Yet they sent an abundance of items that never sold.

    The third issue (as David explains) was pricing. By the time I tried to switch to dollar plus items, it was too late to survive.

    I believe DRSS is well aware of the failures brought on by their practices over the years, yet still continue using the same processes. When I questioned the complaints online, their executives assured us that they were submitted by competitors. When I asked about their failure rate, I was told that they were not permitted to disclose such information.

    Please strongly consider looking elsewhere for consultation if you want to open a dollar store business. This is most likely NOT the company to help you succeed.

  • December 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    I want to say thank you to all of you for the comments. I am so glad that I read this before I signed up with them. I gave them a total of $3000 and right when they sent me the real estate documents to sign my life away. I decided to read everything and highlighted every line. Then I started questioning them and they could not provide any answers . ALSO THE COMPANY THAT GET YOU THE CREDIT CARDS EXCEL FUNDING(be careful with them because one of my credit cards sent me a letter saying they are FRAUD. I asked for my money back and explained to them that I NO LONGER WANT TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEM and Thank Goodness,they gave me my $3000 back. Now listen up people DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING- READ READ READ.

  • January 3, 2017 at 12:01 am

    The comments posted above by Lisa and David are very true. We are one of the victims of DRSS’s scam scheme. We have been running a dollar store since September, 2015 without good outcomes. We cannot even foreclose the store as we are under the tremendous amount of debt, thanks to SEED capital and their consultation to apply for credit cards.

    All the problems mentioned above by Lisa and David in regards to Merchandising, Credit Cards, inventory, training, everything is true. We even inquired the sales representative about the online comments and they fooled us stating that this was posted by competitors.

    We have done everything we could to run the business: lottery, drinks, ice-cream, seasonal items, copy and faxing, food items, you name it, yet nothing seems to be working. DRSS is a SCAM and i am very glad that Jenny was able to save herself from DRSS. We are very happy for Jenny and this gave us encouragement to accredit the comments by Lisa and David.

    Please be careful and stay away from DRSS and it’s so called SCAM service.

  • January 21, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I am in for a collective lawsuit as my experience is exactly as all the other ones. Overcharging, selling you products that cost you 80Cents and telling you that you are making 50 cents on the dollar. rip off, scam and lies. they took a commission on everything shelves, radio, fax etc Made me pay for a ton of unnecessary shelves.

    Run! Do not sign with them.
    Seriously, anybody for a collective lawsuit?

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