All too familiar in small towns is the sight of a small business building with a sign on the door that says for sale. Small towns across the board are seeing this more and more. The question that remains is why?
One answer to that question is convenience. It is convenient to just stop at a big chain store such as Wal-Mart on your way home from work and pick up everything you need in one, convenient place.
Another answer is expense. Small town stores have to charge a higher price for their goods in order to stay afloat. Where as big chain stores can charge less which draws the customers in.
Unfortunately for small grocery store businesses, coming soon to Kearney will be a Hy-Vee, fully equipped with a fuel station and convenience store. The site will sit on 12 acres of land at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and 52d Street.
One of Kearney’s small business grocery stores known as Boogart’s, is pretty calm about Hy-Vee coming to town. Manager, Evan Smith, says “People will go to Hy-Vee at first, but they will be back. We try to offer lots of benefits. We’re convenient and easy to shop in, and we offer local Nebraska products. We’ve been here a long time.”
One store manager that was not so calm about the onset of new, larger grocery stores coming to town was Bob Wilson, owner of Bob’s Superstore. Even the history of 43 years wasn’t enough to keep the doors open at Bob’s Superstore. The small business had to close its doors last September.
“Little nicks here and there took their toll. Those nicks included the reconstruction of East 25th Street two years ago that kept customers away; the opening of supermarkets in stores such as Walmart, Target and Menards; and other factors, including 18 new restaurants in Kearney in recent years,” says Wilson.
According to Ruth Comer, Hy-Vee’s assistant vice president for media relations, “HyVee officials are still working out the size and other details of the supermarket. It will take two years to get the store planned, approved, and built.”
So Boogarts, Sun Mart, and Apple Market are safe for two more years. But what will the ultimate fate of these small grocery businesses be once Hy-Vee comes to town? Is the idea of small business stores slowly becoming just a memory of the way things used to be?
Citizens of Kearney should take a break every now and then from their weekly routine of stopping at big chain stores such as Wal-Mart and soon-to-be Hy-Vee to stock up for their next week’s groceries and instead stop in to one of their local small business grocery stores to make their purchases.
If anything, they will be glad they did. A friendlier experience and shorter lines are almost guaranteed. It may cost a few dollars more to support a small business, but in the end, those extra dollars spent there is worth the hassle that will be saved by not shopping in a big chain store. Each purchase made at these small businesses will help keep their doors open, so why not give it a try?
Read more about the new Hy-Vee coming to Kearney here.
Read what small business owners have to say about the new Hy-vee here.