The Daily Yonder's coverage of rural economic issues, including workforce development and the future of work in rural America, is supported in part by Microsoft.
Michigan, a town of 345 people in eastern North Dakota, lost its grocery about four months back, the first time the community had been without a grocer in 125 years. Now they have a grocery again — but only because people in the town made it so, according to a story in the Grand Forks Herald.
When the old Johner’s Fairway store (above) closed at the end of May, the people of Michigan collected $90,000 and they won a $70,000 federal grant to buy the store building and equip it with new freezers. Fred Wangler, a grocer from a nearby town, took over the store as part of the Wangler chain.
There’s a small boomlet of small towns taking over their groceries. Binford, North Dakota, raised $100,000 to rebuild its grocery after a fire. “I want to provide the things a community needs, and hopefully have a little money left over at the end of the year,” Wangler said. “I’m not going to get rich doing this. Not all of these small towns are going to survive,” he said. “But if you have the needed services, they’ll survive longer.”