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Area officials determined to reopen recently closed grocery stores

TRIPP — Scotland, Tripp and Tyndall's only grocery stores closed their doors Saturday, but city officials aren't giving up hope that the stores could make a comeback.

Since learning of the Corner Grocery's closings less than one week ago, each town's economic development board has been working to ensure the buildings won't sit empty for long.

Corner Grocery owners Mark and Pam Mora, who have not returned multiple phone messages from The Daily Republic seeking comment, purchased the stores from G.F. Buche Co., in May 2016.

Tripp city officials learned of the store's intent to close last week but are already embroiled in serious discussions with R.F. Buche, president of G.F. Buche Co., to have the town's store reopened "as soon as possible," according to Tripp Mayor Vic Olson. Olson said Tripp's Economic Development Corporation received an email from Buche stating his intent to reopen the store.

"We're working closely with the owner of the property to work out some details, but it looks promising the store will open again," Olson said, adding he is unsure when the reopening could occur. "It was a quick, two-day reaction from the board and there will be more details to come."

And Scotland Economic Development Board Member Greg Gemar said the organization is hopeful the Scotland grocery store will rally, too.

Gemar owned the grocery store, then called Gemar's Market, for 35 years prior to a 2013 sale to Buche and later sale to the Moras. The Economic Development Board is working furiously to ensure residents aren't without a grocery store for long, Gemar said, but details are still fuzzy.

"Any time you're without a service like that, it's critical," Gemar said. "We're very optimistic that'll be a short-term situation, but we don't have details to share at this point in time."

Gemar declined to disclose details surrounding the board's work to reopen the store, saying the economic development board is "still early in discussions."

Meanwhile, in Tyndall, the future isn't as clear.

Economic Development Board President Ron Wagner said Monday the group is "pursuing and discussing all options," but no solid plans have been made.

And with just two days notice of the store's impending closure, Wagner said it was nearly impossible to facilitate the impact its folding has had on the community, particularly for the elderly who may have a more difficult time traveling.

For now, the closest grocery stores for Tyndall residents are in Springfield and Yankton, Wagner said, sans a Family Dollar in town.

"Family Dollar has nice stuff, but it's just not the same — it's not like having a grocery store," Wagner said. "You have to realize there's a lot of elderly people ... it's just nice to have a good grocery store, and I think we're big enough to have one."

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