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Veteran Advisor

Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

Here's a Kansas town of 1300 that lost it's grocery store and is trying to get another.  The article has an interesting discussion of various points of view.

 

http://harvestpublicmedia.org/post/kansas-town-tries-new-blueprint-replace-rural-grocery-store?utm_s...

 

What do you think?  Do you go to the little store every couple of days, often not finding what you want and paying fairly high prices, or do you drive 30-60 miles once a week to stop up at the Super Walmart and drive the little guy out of business?

 

It's not an easy choice.  

 

I am price sensitive and often go to the city for something I could pay more for closer to home - does the gas money and time eat up the savings?  But I patronize the local gas station and not the chains.

 

Do we all make these little decisions every day, and is it the little decisions that matter in the end?

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8 Replies
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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

My hometown still has a couple grocery stores, but they can`t have the produce and prices of the Hy-Vees and Fareway`s and drive a few more miles to get Costco.    I think the small town stores are in a niche, catering to retired folks and convenience shoppers and it seems to be working. 

 

A small town I`m by now had a grocery store and couldn`t make it, bananas and such doesn`t have high enough turnover to be stocked and a can of say blueberries might seriously be two years out of date before purchased.  But the community wanted to band together years ago and wanted families to commit to buying $50 or $100 a week, essentially taking orders for someone I suppose making the trip to Sam`s Club and buying it to resell.  Not surprising did not go over well.

 

But even the Hy-Vees can`t stock everything, awhile ago I posted on here I get my Aunt Jemima whole wheat pancake mix from Amazon and my Wife orders the coffee she likes that Hy-Vee quit carrying and my Daughter likes Strawberry Honey Bunches of oats, stores quit carrying it so we get it from Amazon.  

 

Then I see Kwik Trip gas stations are carrying groceries, they must be hooked up with Hy-Vee too now.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

We have been having same problem.
One or several things we have found is fixed
Expenses
Talking with a fellow he advocates building new,
Ultra insulation...using geothermal heat/cool
And solar, to help even out the new peak charges.

We have also talked to a chain save-a-lot.
I've been to one of their stores...bare bones, but
Every thing you need...sorry tho...no kale !!
They tell us $600k for a store (plus building)..
Cheaper if you can find used.
There is associated....but they cater to their
Current stores.

I my opinion, the comment about kale and needing
A big store is rather silly...I would welcome a modest,
Inexpensive store
..sorry don't buy the $4 a loaf bread and the other
Fancy stuff
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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

I can certainly understand the grocer from the neighboring town not liking his tax dollars funding the competition.  And if he is forced to close, what has the county gained?  On a related, but different note, a locally owned and managed c-store is closing its doors about a year after a big c-store chain opened up a new location in town.  We've also had a locally owned sandwich and coffee shop forced to close since the big one came to town.  The local owners were very supportive of community and school activities.  And money spent there stayed and recirculated in the community instead of going off to the "big city"  So are we better off now?  I'll let you be the judge. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

Maybe your farm financial folks can figure this out   or  INVEST in  FeD -x and be nice to the delivery personal ---  

 

Buffalo Commons in slow motion ,  although gaining momentum  ---   

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

Sounds like Casey's general store at work !
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Honored Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

Economic development comes up with a lot of loosing ideas...... 

You don't need a store if you have to subsidize it from property taxes. sales taxes and a federal grant.  

Economic development directors have to be subsidized by taxes as well..... go figure...

One would think they would work themselves out of a job, but that never happens.

 

I agree with the guy in the article who said, If you want to start a business do it.  Stop asking a community that is to small and poor to guarantee you a profit.

 

Whites foodliner were in Hugoton, Ks for years (2500 pop) and a county seat, with some economic strength.  A county pop. of 3500.  Well likes and drew folks in.... We lived closer to Walmart and Dillons but banked there and liked Whites just as well.     The minute another store came to town they closed up and ran.  I don't think the other store had a chance against them but It would not suprise me if they tried to force the town to guarantee them a profit to stay.

 

BA brings up a good point.  We are well into changes like amazon grocery.  And frankly if the grain markets continue another 50% reduction in small town population is coming.

Economic Development people live on "restoring the old days" because it is what people want to here, but they just load up property and sales taxes on projects that turn into craft fairs and empty buildings.  

The guy in the story is right.  It is about taking the risk, relationships and service.  People will learn to eat what is available if they want a store in town.  If they don't it doesn't matter if Jerry Moran shows up for the ribbon cutting or not.

Amazon will send your kale in a couple of days or do you need it handed to you by someone who likes your sandals.  Actually try a garden and sell it to the neighbors, carry some braums milk, and offer some eggs grown locally.  Buy some chickens if need be and we are well on the way to solving the problem.

 

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

SW -  Tax incentives for business is a way of life , like for the big blues etc. , I guess - sooo subsidies for the mega's seems un-manageable with the daily trades of 100 of thousands of shares worth a billion in 2 days of trading - (insider trades ) -according to business weekly or (institutional sales ) graph ?

 

Explain what I missing here ? For my disclosure I DON'T have any direct holdings in W_ma__ ---      

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Rural Towns Without Grocery Stores

I buy local, hire local, and sell local....

Where are my incentives ?

I can't even get my road graveled for 20 years.
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