News Features

CECD conducts surveys to help rural businesses

K-State Engagement E-News, March 2008 (PDF)

by Dan Kahl

Fresh produce at a local Kansas grocery store.

Fresh produce at a local Kansas grocery store.

More than 6,000 surveys left K-State in early March for a visit to rural grocery stores and customers in Kansas.

"There are actually two types of surveys that we sent, one for store owners, and one for grocery store customers," said Chandra Ruthstrom, administrative assistant for the Center for Engagement and Community Development at K-State.

The grocery store owner survey is intended to gather information state-wide to better understand industry challenges and strategies for success of rural Kansas grocery stores. The survey was sent to stores serving communities with a population of 2,000 or less. The information from these surveys will be shared with interested store owners at a rural grocer summit at the Kansas Sampler Foundation in Inman, Kan., on June 1, 2008.

The grocery store customer surveys are taking place in the service area of five cooperating grocery stores. These surveys went to every box holder within an area surrounding each of the cooperating stores; and the surveys will collect information that will help the stores better understand the product and service needs of the customers in their area.

The surveys were created by staff in Agricultural Economics at K-State, with the support and feedback from staff from the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, the participating rural grocery store owners and CECD staff.

"While the immediate feedback of this project will help the participating stores, I am also pleased that these same survey tools will be available for use by K-State Research and Extension staff to assist other stores too," CECD Director David Procter said.

The surveys are currently available online at www.ruralgrocery.org. This Web site was created by K-State to be both an informational networking site as well as a resource location for rural store owners. This initiative is possible due to generous support from the USDA Rural Development Office.