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Rural Grocery Initiative

Webinars & Workshops

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Thursdays at 1:30pm CT, January 28 – March 18 
Free and open to grocers, prospective grocers and community stakeholders. 
Click here to register.
For questions about this webinar series, please reach us at rgi@ksu.edu. 

Grocery stores are critical businesses in rural communities: they serve as essential sources of healthy food, they drive local economies, and they provide space for community members to gather and connect. 
So when a grocery store closes, the community loses out. In order to maintain vibrant rural grocery stores over the long-term, grocers and communities must
plan ahead. 
This eight-part webinar series will present the steps for completing a successful grocery business transition. In many cases, some form of community or shared ownership model provides a viable opportunity for maintaining a vibrant rural grocery store. Each webinar will explore a different topic pertinent to successful business transitions.

Webinar Schedule

All webinars will be held on Thursdays at 1:30pm Central using Zoom. This series is free and open to the public. Save your spot by registering today. You may register for the entire series, or just the webinars that are relevant to you. Recordings of each webinar will be posted here.

1. January 28: Grocery Business Transition Planning Overview

Why is it so important to keep grocery stores alive? In this webinar, we will discuss why rural grocery stores are essential community infrastructure and why business transition plans are critical to keeping a grocery store’s doors open. We’ll explore a few examples of grocery stores that successfully transitioned ownership while staying engaged with their community.

2. February 4: Understanding Grocery Ownership Models 

The options for grocery store ownership are numerous. For many years, the family-owned grocery store was king, but alternative forms of grocery ownership, including shared ownership models, are becoming more common. Often, alternative models are the right fit for rural communities. This webinar will explore why it’s helpful to consider shared ownership models when transitioning grocery ownership and describe the basic characteristics of rural grocery shared ownership models.

3. February 11: Preparing for Business Transition 

How long do business transitions take, and who should be involved? What does a transition plan look like and what are the steps to prepare for transition? How to estimate the value of a store? What can you do to pave the way to success for the next owner and store manager? Jack Harwell and John Addessi with the Kansas SBDC and the Kansas Center for Business Transition will cover these essential considerations and more in this webinar to help you prepare for transitioning store ownership.

4. February 18: Assessing Markets & Community Needs 

Communities change over time, and ownership transitions present an opportunity for the grocery store to adapt to community needs. Are there new services that should be offered, does the store need a facelift? What about partnering with another business to provide an additional amenity for your community? This webinar will discuss methods for assessing an existing grocery store, involve your community and gauge the store’s market in order to facilitate a successful business transition.

5. February 25: Planning Your Business 

With a change in store ownership comes the need to develop a business plan. This plan will help guide new owners and store managers into the future. There are many things to consider: who will be your distributor, what costs should you expect, what offerings could you provide in addition to grocery? Join us to learn how to get started on your business plan.

6. March 4: Funding the Transition 

Let’s work on fitting the funding puzzle pieces together. For current and prospective grocers, this panel of funders will share details on their relevant funding opportunities to support rural grocery. While some funding opportunities discussed are available across the country, this will have a focus on Kansas funding opportunities.

7. March 11: Recruiting Store Managers 

Recruiting a store manager can be one of the greatest challenges in transitioning a grocery store. In this webinar, hear directly from grocery store owners to learn how they found and developed leaders to take on the grocery business.

8. March 18: Mastering Grocery Store Nuts & Bolts

Are you new to the day-to-day management of a grocery store? This webinar will share fundamentals of grocery operations. Join  experienced grocery store owners as they walk through what a day at the grocery store looks like.


Sponsors and Partners

This webinar series is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation through the Heartland Challenge.

It is presented by the Rural Grocery Initiative, in partnership with Kansas State Research and Extension, NetWork Kansas, the Kansas Rural Center, the Food Co-Op Initiative, and the Kansas Center for Business Transition.


Kauffman Foundation         Rural Grocery Initiative logo

       Kansas State Research and Extension Logo         NetWork Kansas Logo         Kansas Rural Center Logo

Food Co-Op Initiative Logo         Kansas Center for Business Transition Logo