Monday, January 05, 2015

Kansas community turns to crowdfunding to raise money for a local grocery store

The mostly agricultural town of Plains, Kan. (Wikipedia map), has been holding on steady while other small towns in the area have struggled to survive. But many in this town of one-square-mile muncipality believe its future relies heavily on whether or not the town can acquire something it hasn't had since 2001—a local grocery store, Mitch Smith reports for The New York Times

In an effort to get that grocery store supporters have turned to crowdfunding through, Smith writes. Local residents have formed a nonprofit foundation that has "lined up about $400,000 through tax credits, grants, donations and fund-raisers. With about $5,100 more, they will have enough money to finish buying the empty land on Grand Avenue where, one day soon, they hope to build."

Supporters believe a grocery store will lead to further development and help increase the population in a county where numbers have been steadily dropping, Smith writes. Jeanne Roberts, who is leading the effort to bring a grocery store to Plains, told Smith, “A grocery store is the heart of the town. In small towns, it’s the social gathering place. And when you don’t have that social gathering place and you’re going outside, then you don’t feel connected.”

Overall, Plains is about one-third of the way to its fund-raising goal, Smith writes. "But even if donors raise enough money to buy the property in Plains, organizers will still need roughly $1 million more to build, equip, stock and staff a store. It is a lofty goal, a fact acknowledged even by the project’s most optimistic supporters." But that hasn't stopped residents from continuing to fight to bring a grocery store to their small town. (Read more)

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