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Small town trying to save community-owned grocery store

FREDERICK, S.D. (AP) -- The small northeastern South Dakota town of Frederick is trying to save its community-owned grocery store. Revenue at the Community Store has been declining, and it needs more investors to stay in business, Manager Michell...

FREDERICK, S.D. (AP) - The small northeastern South Dakota town of Frederick is trying to save its community-owned grocery store.

Revenue at the Community Store has been declining, and it needs more investors to stay in business, Manager Michelle Ivy told the American News.

"This is how the community store became the community store - when people came to together and said, 'Yeah, I'm going to put my money in it,'" board member Heidi Marttila-Losure said.

Several small towns in the Dakotas have used the community-owned store concept to keep a local supply of groceries. Residents buy shares, help run the business and typically recirculate the profits back into the community. They also can tailor a store to meet local needs.

"We did a survey before Christmas asking if there was anything that would make (residents) more likely to shop there," Marttila-Losure said. "One was wine, and we are now offering wine at the store."

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Frederick's store also has benches, a microwave and coffee, and serves as a place to socialize.

"The atmosphere is really good ... the people, the whole works," said Edgar Head, who visits daily for the companionship and does most of his grocery shopping there.

If Frederick's store closes, the 250 residents will have to drive to Aberdeen or across the North Dakota border to Ellendale to get groceries. Aberdeen is about 35 miles away. Ellendale is closer, at about 15 miles, but for people who can't drive, "that might as well be 100 miles," Ivy said.

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