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Center for Engagement and Community Development

Rural grocery initiative 


About the initiative

Confronting issues of business development, public health and community sustainability, CECD is partnering with the Kansas Sampler Foundation, the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development, grocery store owners from across the state and faculty and staff from the departments of agricultural economics, human nutrition and rural sociology at K-State to identify and develop models to sustain retail sources of food for rural Kansas citizens.

The Center for Engagement and Community Development and its partners have identified nearly 200 grocery stores in rural towns across Kansas with populations under 2,000 and are beginning a much-needed conversation with these rural Kansas grocers.

Through this initiative, CECD seeks to create new models for rural business development and sustainability and plans to address specific questions such as,

  • How can we increase local customer loyalty?
  • How can rural business best compete with large chain stores?
  • What are the best strategies for dealing with minimum buying requirements?
  • What models of rural business ownership are most effective?
  • Are there alternative models of distribution for getting products to rural business owners?

The specific goals of this initiative include:

  • To create a rural grocery website for sharing information with one another,
  • To create and deliver a marketing survey of customers needs and wishes,
  • To create a list of rural grocer best practices, and
  • To begin to develop a "buy local" campaign.

If you would like to be included in this conversation or would like to talk about rural business development retention, please contact CECD at 785-532-6868 orcecd@k-state.edu.

Grocery store surveys

The Customer Preference Survey and the Rural Grocer Survey were implemented in March 2008. For more information, the surveys, and results, see the Rural Grocery Store Sustainability Initiative website.