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Rural Grocery Initiative

Success Stories


Rural grocery stores face unique challenges. These Success Stories showcase creative ways that rural grocers have addressed them.

Bluestem Mercantile: Leon, Kansas

A school-run store is not something you find in every small town, but it was the right fit in Leon, Kansas. The Bluestem Mercantile succeeds because of its ability to see educational opportunities everywhere. They’ve taken advantage of the flexibility that can exist in small towns, and they are now a model for other schools that may want to take on similar projects. Read more about this store here.

Bluestem Mercantile Storefront  Coolers in the Bluestem Mercantile

Chapman Food Mart: Chapman, Kansas

After a tornado ravaged much of the Chapman community, the Chapman Food Mart was developed as part of the city's plan to rebuild.  Picking the right team, working with local partners, and making good first impressions has led to success for Chapman Food Mart.  Read more about their success story here.

A view of the front of Chapman Food Mart in Chapman, Kansas    Doug Thompson, owner of Chapman Food Mart stands in his store.

Garden of Eden: Little River, Kansas

The city of Little River and the Garden of Eden grocery store have a unique partnership that ensures buy-in from the city and owners that Little River will always have a grocery store.  Read on to learn more about their success story here.

Debra and Dave Nelson stand inside their grocery store, Garden of Eden in Little River, KS.   Dave Nelson at the butcher counter at Garden of Eden.

Hired Man's Grocery & Grill, Inc.: Conway Springs, Kansas

After Conway Springs lost their only grocery store, the Osner family decided to take action and open Hired Man's Grocery Store and Grill, Inc. Read on to learn more about their success story here.

The Hired Man's Grocery & Grill staff stand in front of the grocery store in Conway Springs, KS.   The produce section in Hired Man's Grocery & Grill.

The Mildred Store: Mildred, Kansas

The Mildred Store is located in a more than 100 year-old building that is one of the last remaining buildings from the height of the town's beginnings.  Read more about their success story here.

Loren and Regena Vance stand in their grocery store in Mildred, Kansas.  The sign hanging outside of the Mildred Grocery Store.

St. Paul Supermarket: St. Paul, Kansas

When the schools in St. Paul, KS were temporarily closed, the city rallied around bring a grocery store back to their community.  Partners throughout the community worked to build, open and operate a local grocery store for their community.  Read more about this store here.

The St. Paul Supermarket.   Aisle in St. Paul Supermarket  

White's Foodliner: St. John, Kansas

After the Dillon's grocery store closed in St. John, Kansas, it took many puzzle pieces coming together and the determination of a few key individuals for a new store to open in October 2018.  Read more about this story here.

Ribbon Cutting of White's Foodliner in St. John, KS   White's Foodliner Produce Section