Giving Compass' Take:
- Grocery stores in rural communities are finding creative ways to stay open using tactics such as organizational restructuring and relying on volunteer and community support.
- Where could donors help fill gaps for rural grocery stores?
- Learn how food co-ops can help address food deserts.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
At 75, Linda Grotberg is more than ready to retire. Instead, however, the mother of 11 and grandmother of 40 manages a small grocery store in her hometown of Wimbledon, North Dakota.
Some days, she works the register and oversees the restocking of the small store. On others, she drives 30 miles to Jamestown, a nearby city of 15,000, to stock up on items at the Walmart Supercenter, where retail prices on some things are lower than the wholesale price the grocery gets.
Grotberg does all this so that her neighbors don’t have to drive out of town to buy groceries. And because the Wimbledon Community Grocery offers a slice of community in an area on the verge of losing its identity.
Twenty-four percent of North Dakotans work in agriculture, and yet as farming has become more mechanized, it has required fewer people. Since 2007, the average farm size in the state has gone up by more than 20%, meaning more land for fewer farmers. As a result, North Dakota’s rural areas have experienced an exodus in recent decades and its grocery stores have been heavily impacted.
Wimbledon, and other towns where grocery stores are managing to survive, have come up with innovative ways to keep themselves afloat, relying on organizational restructuring, alternative revenue sources, and lots of volunteers. And the people behind them, like Grotberg, lose sleep over whether it will be enough to keep their doors open and their shelves stocked.
Read the full article about rural grocery stores by Ayu Sutriasa at YES! Magazine.