summer on May 23.
While agreeing that something has to be done, Pfuhl expressed concern because the politicians were debating whether to expand the funding to include things like farmers markets and non-traditional ways to
bring food into rural communities. “Our concern is we’d like it to be
a little more holistic to supporting brick-and-mortar before we start
bringing in more things to crush them,” she says.
“We get a lot of calls saying, ‘Hey, we lost our grocer,’” Pfuhl says.
“We get consumers calling. We get cities calling frustrated that there
is nowhere to pick up that milk or those eggs. But those convenience
stops don’t keep the grocer alive. We find the consumer wants it when
they want it, but they don’t generally want to support it. They’ll say, ‘It
is cheaper to drive to X Big City and shop at X Super Center. I have to
shop there to support my family, but I really need that corner grocer if
I have to pick up a box of cake mix.’ Truth is, that does not keep that
small town grocer alive.”
According to industry observers, there are things small-town grocers
can do to not only survive, but thrive.
For starters, they can turn to the National Grocers Association,
which offers a number of resources for retailers seeking to open a small
“Our NGA Share Groups provide non-competing companies with
the opportunity to learn from each other and share new ideas and best
practices in a number of company operations, such as human resources,
ISSUES OF MOST IMPORTANCE
TO RURAL GROCERS
Survey of 155 rural grocers in Minnesota.
Large chain store competition 28%
Government regulations 8%
High operating costs 11%
Lack of community support 10%
Availability of labor 18%
*Issues cited by less than 5 percent of respondents.
DISTANCE TO NEAREST
Survey of 175 rural grocers in Minnesota
Less than 10 miles 2%
10-19 miles 37%
20-29 miles 25%
30-39 miles 13%
40-49 miles 13%
50 miles or more 10%
NGA – National Grocers Association
Food Co-Op Initiative
The Center for Engagement & Community
SOURCE: 2015 MINNESO TA RURAL GROCER Y SURVE Y
finance, technology, succession planning, marketing and more,” says
Laura Strange, senior director, communications and marketing at
NGA, based in Arlington, Va.
NGA also offers classes to assist retailers, Strange notes.
“The NGA Online Training and Education Center offers a continually
Non-GMO & Organic Sales are
The Millennial Lifestyle is having
a Big Impact on the Food Industry.
Nearly 80 million Millennials in the U.S. pride
themselves on being tastemakers and trendsetters
with better values than previous generations.
They not only want organic and the freshest locally
grown food, but they implore their parents and grandparents
to change their eating habits as well.
One in Every Two Consumers
is Seeking Non-GMO Products.
Demand for products with ingredients assured
by the Non-GMO Project is soaring... from just over $2 billion
in sales in 2012 to $13.5 billion in 2015!