Working to strengthen our rural grocery stores
The Hired Man’s Grocery and Grill in Conway Springs (KS), The Onaga Country Market in Onaga (KS), and Gosch’s Grocery in Randall (MN) have been chosen as case study grocery stores for a national grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant is organized and managed by Kansas State University’s Center for Engagement and Community Development. According to project director, Dr. David Procter, “The project focuses on highlighting the healthy food options available in local grocery stores and will provide nutrition education on site to help customers make healthy food choices.”
Kansas State University has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the USDA to address the economic and nutritional challenges faced by rural communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) just announced more than $12 million in grants to support research, education and Extension activities aimed at increasing prosperity and economic security for farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and consumers across the nation. The grant awarded to Kansas State University is directed by Dr. David Procter, Center for Engagement and Community Development. K-State co-project directors include Dr. Hikaru Peterson, Agricultural Economics; Dr. Sandra Procter, Human Nutrition Extension; Dr. Dan Kahl, Community Development Extension; and Dr. Kathryn Draeger, University of Minnesota Extension. Industry partners include Affiliated Foods Midwest and NuVal, LLC.
It took a few years, considerable fundraising and now the Morland Mercantile is now open for business. Since being established, the Morland Community Foundation will focus on another project: a community kitchen. There, residents of Morland will be able to make “homemade” products to sell in their grocery store.
During the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic, Governor Sam Brownback cut the ribbon for the newly-refurbished Morland Mercantile grand opening celebration on Nov. 16. The road to the opening has been long for the citizens of Morland.
The Small Business Energy Program offers store owners valuable energy-saving recommendations, based on the findings of the on-site assessment. These recommendations are custom-tailored to the particular conditions in each store—and will help business owners target cost-effective improvements to maximize their investment.
Rural Grocery Store Funded By Non-Profit Organization
For the residents of Plains, Kan., a ‘quick trip’ to the grocery store is a thing of the past. Since this rural community’s store closed in 2001, residents have been forced to travel a minimum of 14 miles to purchase food – a 28-mile round trip. But for this population of fewer than 1,500, the trip to the local grocery is going to get shorter. The Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains, a non-profit organization developed by five local citizens, is in the process of bringing a grocery store back to the community.
Strengthening rural grocery stores through customer service
Kansas Grocery Earns Small Business Award
A western Kansas couple, Gordon and Mary Jenkins, have earned the 2012 Kansas Small Business Persons of the Year Award. These owners were praised for their grocery store, Cimarron Shurfine Foods, which serves Cimarron, Kan., pop. 2,000. As the only grocery store owners to receive this award from the Small Business Administration, the Jenkins were honored for their customer service, community outreach and business growth. The couple purchased the local grocery in 2007, and since then, has strived to uphold small-town values by caring for their customers.
Customer Service a Family’s Priority
For the Floersch family, there’s no such thing as a ‘typical day.’ As the owners of Ray’s Apple Market, a local grocery store serving Manhattan, Kan., Mike, Aaron and Tom Floersch strive to provide “modern stores with old-fashioned service.” The trio is following in the steps of Ray Floersch, the father of Mike and Tom and grandfather of Aaron, who started the business nearly 48 years ago. These grocers work to remain competitive with other chain grocers in town by maintaining relationships with their customers and the local community.
Rural Grocery Stores are Integral to the Health and Well-Being of Small Kansas Communities: K-State Journalism and Mass Communication Students Tell the Rural Grocery Story
Journalism and Digital Media students in five classes at the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications spent spring of 2011 developing multimedia content designed to tell an important story: Rural grocery stores are integral to the health and well-being of small Kansas communities. Partnering with K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development's Rural Grocery Initiative, which began in 2007, the students visited more than a dozen towns and cities in Kansas and Missouri to explore the challenges faced both by rural grocery store owners and by communities that lack access to a variety of reasonably priced, healthful foods. The students learned that the issues surrounding food access and community sustainability in Kansas mirror the significant challenges faced by rural areas nationwide.