(NBC) - The deep-discount dollar stores that were the refuge for the economically challenged during the Great Recession have now become the stores of choice for many.
Jody Rohlena of ShopSmart magazine says the popularity of dollar stores is justified.
ShopSmart is part of the non-profit Consumer Reports Organization, and just conducted a survey that found three-out-of-four women shop dollar stores more often because they've more mainstream in the products they offer.
"They are not second runs, they are the same product, when we're talking about the national brands, it's the same exact," Rohlena says.
Some have even launched their own brand, like Family Dollar's "Family Gourmet", which costs on average 29-percent less than name brands.
"There's no reason to think they're over-runs either. They're being made specially for the dollar stores," Rohlena points out.
She says all of this is by design.
Dollar stores are making the most of an opportunity.
"They have revamped the stores, really trying to bust that perception of dollar stores being a junky maze of second run products," she says.
An opportunity provided by, oddly enough, a poor economy.