Interview with Debi Dazzo
Debi Dazzo is the new Store Manager of the Yachats Dollar General.
TYG: So how did you come to Yachats?
Debi: [laughs] Well, I came with the store. I’ve been with Dollar General for about a year now. I’d kind of been waiting for a store in the area that I wanted to open, and when I heard that they were building one in Yachats, I put in for this store.
TYG-Graphic Design: What area were you in?
Debi: I originally started in Shady Grove, which is outside of Medford. I had a small business there, a coffee shop and art gallery. I come from that kind of background—shabby chic. Shabby chic furniture, and I paint.
TYG: How did Dollar General get the idea to come to Yachats?
Debi: They choose a lot of small towns—that seems to be their thing. I can’t necessarily speak for them because I’m not them, but usually we open in small towns that need some local stuff. So that people don’t have to drive to the nearest [department store]. I can tell you why I like them. In the town that I was in, I owned a small business. It was really hard for me to leave and go in [to the big city] to get supplies that I needed for my business, and at home. My time is short; I worked seven days a week. So I liked [Dollar General], because I found I could run over and get stuff cheaper than at our local grocery store. Instead of making my one day, my day off or my partial day off running into Walmart so I could save money and do a bunch of shopping, I found I could go right across the street—it was right across the street from my house.
TYG: That’s useful!
Debi: And then, I noticed after about two and half months, that I wasn’t going in to Medford anymore. I was shopping my toiletries and my stuff here [at Dollar General], and getting this and that and the groceries that I needed here, and when I needed some other stuff, I went to my local grocery store. And I realized I was staying local! I wasn’t going into town. So I liked it. And when I found myself suddenly out of a job because the retention pond in my town failed...
TYG-GD: The retention pond?
Debi: They had built a retention pond after they had built a suburb up on the hill, and the drainage wasn’t effective, so the City hired an engineering company to build a retention pond. They pretty much dug a hole like a sandbox in the back yard, and dug a trench along the school, out to the river. It failed.
TYG-GD: So what happened then?
Debi: The water ran down, and my business, which was a little bit lower than everybody else’s, and all the water flooded into my business and it was knee-deep inside.
TYG: Oh no!!
Debi: I only rented the building, so they wanted to wait and use the City’s insurance to make any repairs. Realizing that that could take six to eight months, there was no way that I could be out of business for six to eight months. It wasn’t going to happen. And then a friend of mine offered to buy the building—he wanted to do a barbecue in it. I was good friends with the owners, and him, and you know, I’d been wanting to move out the coast for three years, but I couldn’t leave my business...
TYG-GD: That took care of that.
Debi: That took care of that! I was just going to move out here—I had money in the savings, I was just going to make a go for it. Then my District Manager for Dollar General said, “Do you want to transfer?” I said yes, and so the company transferred me. They had kind of an interesting position for me for a couple of months until this store opened, and then I became the Store Manager of this store!
TYG: So how has business been going so far?
Debi: Good! Really good, actually. It’s a good community—they’ve been really nice and receptive. Before we opened I’d heard that maybe we wouldn’t get a warm reception, but we did. People have come in here and really thanked us for coming. They were probably the same people driving to Newport or Waldport. Now they don’t have to drive.
TYG: Useful! Good for the environment as well.
Debi: [pause] Well, saving on gas, I guess. [laughs] I don’t know—is anything that we do good for the environment anymore? I guess not driving is good for the environment. Well, honestly, you know—when I would do my own, big grocery trip, I found that I would also go out to lunch there, I’d go shopping there, and then I’m done. I’ve spent my money, I’ve spent my budget. And it wasn’t in my town. I wasn’t going to flower shop there, I wasn’t going to other little businesses there. There was my business, and my big trip, and that was all I had time for. For three years.
TYG-GD: How far away was Medford for you?
Debi: It was 25 minutes.
TYG-GD: Oh, so like from here to Newport.
TYG: So not too bad, at least.
Debi: No, but you know, I drive a truck. I re-did furniture, so I had to have something to transport it in. So that’s my vehicle, you know. I wish I had a small car to take to town, but I can’t afford both. So I noticed that I was spending more time in town, more time going to the local Mexican restaurant on the river, and spending time with my friends, all locally.
TYG: So do you control the products you sell?
Debi: No. There are people who do a lot of research—the people who run these companies definitely do their demographics, they do their research; they are not not-savvy business people. And they’re run so that when you go to any town, you pretty much know where your product is, and you know it’s going to be carried in there. They’re pretty much to plan. This is my tenth store I’ve been in.
Debi: I pretty much know every single item that we carry. If you asked me if we carried it, I could tell you yes, I could tell you where, and I could almost do that in every store, even though there are three or four different floor plans.
TYG: That’s amazing, wow! I was just interested to see that you guys were selling iPhone cases instead of like Samsung or something.
Debi: iPhone products, they’re everywhere. They just kind of have the jump on that. We carry the chargers and everything else for Samsung, and I’m pretty sure that if Samsung wanted to get with Dollar General and put their products in here, they’d carry them. We have about three different side-wings that we carry cell-phone products on. I don’t think it would be a big deal to carry different products.
TYG-GD: So, is your child of school age?
Debi: Yes, he’s 12! I have a 12-year old and a 23-year old. The 23-year old is married and going to school—she’s graduating this semester with a bio in medicine.
Debi: Yes, she’s a smart cookie. She wants to be a surgeon.
TYG-GD: And does your 12-year old go to Waldport?
Debi: Nope, he goes to Florence! He’s absolutely in love with that school. He loves it. I talked about moving closer, and he asked me if I would not. He’s a very shy kid.
TYG-GD: I did’t realize you were down there in that direction.
Debi: Yep! I had a friend there, and I kept coming over and visiting, so I ended up down there, and in between, I was working at the Lakeside store for about three months, because we have one down in Lakeside too. The Waldport one was not open yet, and this one was not open, but I knew they were in the plan. And then we had the Bandon store as well. I knew we were opening on the coast, so I kind of took a gamble, and I’m a hard worker.
TYG-GD: So you have the most beautiful drive in the world, every day.
Debi: I have the most beautiful drive. I’m also known to have the most beautiful store, because of the view. And even though I can’t see it, I can see it on my break. But I get teased about having the best store because I have the best view as well. [laughs]
TYG: It’s certainly a lot safer than the Waldport one.
Debi: Safer? Why would it be safer?
TYG: Because the Waldport one could be flooded instantly.
TYG: But that’s the case for every business in Waldport.
Debi: I don’t know! Sometimes hearing the wind, here... I’m like, “Are we going to blow down?” I feel a little adventurous sometimes, taking my drive sometimes at night, when I close.
TYG: After seeing the inside though—you guys have big, strong beams in here. So you should be fine.
Debi: Well yes, and again, they do their demographics and their homework, so... They’ve been a pretty good company to me. Again, they didn’t have to transfer me, they didn’t have to give me my own store, and they really have.
TYG: That’s very nice of them!
Debi: When I applied for this store, Florence was not on the list and was not even a thought, but Florence is actually now a thought...
TYG-GD: You might have to choose!
Debi: Well, even though I’d be leaving my manager’s district, and he doesn’t want to see me go... he says he’s not going to let me go (it’s a joke), I may put in for that store just because it would be closer to my home.
TYG-GD: Right! And if you’re working 50 hours a week, plus a huge commute—now is not bad, but in the summer, with the tourist traffic...
Debi: Summer... and as a manager, I only have to close twice a week, and I do have a roommate. But I like being closer to home.
TYG: Sure! Summer is quite the ordeal, here.
Debi: And I love that. I grew up in Alaska, so... Born in Oregon, grew up in Alaska, and I love tourism—I’m used to it. It’s what I’ve worked since I was 13-years old.
TYG-GD: Where did you live in Alaska?
Debi: Sitka. And I also lived in Anchorage, and Kenai, and Juneau. And Wasilla. And Eagle River. [laughs]
TYG-GD: That’s an adventurous life!
Debi: Yes! I was also married military for ten years. So I’ve also lived in Hawaii and North Carolina. Yes. It’s been quite the roller coaster. It’s kind of funny, because my Mom does a Christmas letter every year. She’s been writing them for 30 years, and she just sent us this year the thirty years of Christmas letters. And in each one she does a section about each one of us six kids. And I was just buzzing through mine really quick, and it brought a tear to my eyes a couple of times... Like this Christmas, they were coming to see my new baby—it took me five years to have my son, so—it was quite the battle. Brought a little tear to my eye that they were coming and were super-excited... finally, finally I was having another one.
TYG: Well, thank you so much for your time!
Debi: You’re welcome!
Local Event: Saturday March 3, 2018 at Toad Hall:
RESQCATS founder, Jeffyne Telson, launches her first book: Cat Tails: Heart-Warming
Stories about the Cats and Kittens of RESQCATS
Yachats, Oregon. Saturday, March 3, 2018.
12 pm to 2 pm
Book signing at Toad Hall,
237 W. 3 rd St.,
Yachats Oregon 97498
In 1997, Jeffyne Telson founded RESQCATS, Inc, as a non-profit organization dedicated
to the rescue, care and adoption of stray and abandoned cats and kittens. In the ensuing 20 years, with the help of a small group of dedicated volunteers, Jeffyne has grown RESQCATS well beyond her dreams, into a highly respected rescue organization that has placed more than 2800 cats and kittens with qualified families and individuals. And now, she has written a book about her journey of creating a cat rescue, the challenges and opportunities she has faced, and most important of all, the valuable life lessons the cats and kittens have taught her.
RESQCATS is a non-profit, tax-deductible sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, care and
adoption of stray and abandoned cats and kittens. 100% of the proceeds from the book
go directly to the cats and kittens. Visit the website: www.RESQCATS.org.