|Sep 03, 2013 --
The grocery store in Potter, Nebraska closed in February of 2011. This closing caused a food desert for the local farm and ranch communities served by the grocery store. The senior citizen population and those with mobility issues were particularly impacted by the closing.
Through the USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant of $85,000, Potter Historical Foundation purchased the empty store front and equipment as a Business Incubator. Local fundraising, together with a volunteer community workforce, helped make repairs to the building that included making the facility handicapped accessible and installing new flooring, new lighting, new signage and repairs to coolers and freezers. The Potter Historical Foundation has rented the facility to Steve Wolff, who also operates a grocery store in Grover, Colorado, called Grover Market Basket. He has operated the Grover store for more than 14 years and has grocery and retail experience spanning 30 plus years.
Potter Historical Foundation negotiated the purchase of the building in December of 2011. Over the months that followed, the Foundation and community volunteers cleaned and painted the interior of the building and assisted with the renovation of the building and equipment to house its first incubator business.
Foundation Chair Kirk Enevoldsen said, “We are excited to see the support from the community, both financially and in the amount of volunteer hours contributed to the project. Volunteers from all age groups showed up on work days and demonstrated their community pride in getting the store ready to open. The youth of the community (the ones with the strong backs) have been especially helpful and have really shown a strong interest in helping so that the store can be open again. In total, the community contributed more than $40,000 to the grocery store project.”
In addition, a challenge match was provided by a local family. To date, a combined total of more than $80,000 has been contributed to the grocery store fund. These funds will be used to help pay for the recent renovations and for future maintenance and expansion.
“Potter’s Market and General Store” opened its doors on March 2, 2013. The store is truly a general store, offering not only grocery items but also offers supplies for summer yard needs, a hardware section, snacks and, of course, BIG RED paraphernalia. The store is taking advantage of the State of Nebraska I-80 construction to market to the road crews who will be in the area this summer and next.
“The Community That Could” is excited that residents can now walk down the street to buy a gallon of milk. But even better, the residents can now get the majority of their grocery list filled right in town, and then as a bonus, find general store items for sale as well. Rather than having to drive and spend those dollars out of town, most all of their needs are now available right in their own community.