Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eight Steps

The Center for Rural Affairs sent me an interesting piece yesterday. It is called "Eight Steps to Help Small Town Grocery Stores." This is important to me because I understand the importance of a healthy grocery store nearby. It doesn't need to be big but in our big American way of wanting everything now and more than I need, the little grocer has been pushed aside.

Is your town's grocery struggling? Heck no, it is long gone! Actually a few are left. The once very popular Bob and Carl's Grocery Store on the south side of Wilmington became Community Markets but that didn't work and now it is Pack and Save. The once very popular Blanchester IGA is now Save A Lot. I know they are both struggling to hang on but they will never be that complete grocery store I liked to shop in 20 years ago.

The Center's plan is pretty interesting:
1. Get Folks Together. Get leaders together to support your smaller grocery.
2. Listen. What does your community need?
3. Consider all ownership operations. There are many different successful models. Which one is best for your town?
4. Stack enterprises. Brown's "Martinsville Mall" is good at this. They have more enterprises stacked in one little building than you will find anywhere.
5. Control energy costs. We all need to do this! The refridgeration and lighting in any food enterprise is a large burden of cost.
6. Best customer service. You have to love to work with people no matter their quirkiness and no matter how low the pay is! This is not a high return enterprise, it is like farming, a risky 5% return on investment at best!
7. Involve everyone! Every community member has to have small stake in any local enterprise for it to succeed!
8. Share stories. This is what we do on HyMark High Spot, share stories! What works or failed in your town? Share your stories with Steph Larsen at or call her at 402-687-2100.

I will at least send this story to Steph and hope to call her anc chat with her a bit. This article caught my eye in one of those newsletters that too easily hits the circular file!

I have always wanted to own a successful small business and the closest thing I came to with is my turbocharger dealership in the 70's. I got into a very new, lucrative business at the right time and made sone money but never cultured it into s full time business. I could have because I knew all of the tractor pullers and their friends, the end users of my specialty product. I preferred my teachers paycheck over the risk of the business.

Farming has been my most successful business after teaching. I generate more income with it than I do consulting because "I can't sell, I can't negotiate and I keep less than acceptable records."

How about you?


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