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Mabel grocery store closes

Mon, Apr 30th, 2012
Posted in Mabel All

The grocery store in Mabel, Hometown Foods, recently closed its doors, leaving the residents there with no choice but to travel outside of town to purchase food. The city and the EDA, however, are working to replace the store and to meet the needs of the people of Mabel.

Kirsten Wyffels, president of the EDA (Economic Development Authority), said they are still in the preliminary stages, but are looking into options such as a co-op.

“We’re working on gathering information on what has worked for other towns and what has not, and we’re looking at funding,” shared Wyffels.

They are still looking for a site in town that would be the best location. The first step before doing anything is a Feasibility Study. This must be done to determine whether it’s feasible to pay for a grocery store in Mabel.

Wyffels said losing the store has been hard on the community, but they are doing what they can to help. Right now they are looking for volunteers to deliver groceries from Red’s in Spring Grove to Mabel residents.

“We are trying to help our community out,” said Wyffels. “There are people who can’t drive or get to the grocery store, and those are people that we are worried about.”

After the feasibility study, the EDA will get started on a business plan and look more into options for a co-op. Wyffels said that co-ops have worked well in some communities, and not in others, and they have a lot of research to do.

Mayor Liz Folstad said they would like as much community involvement as possible, and she thinks a co-op might be the answer.

“We are looking at getting a grant to get a building built and allow the co-op or whatever organization we choose to go with to rent it and operate it as a grocery store again,” said Folstad. She added there is no confirmation as to what land they might use, and they are still willing to talk to Patty Vatland, the owner of Hometown Foods, about using that location.

“We are in the very baby stages of everything,” stated Folstad. “The feasibility study should be back this week, then we can prepare a business plan.”

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