By Leah Palubicki – Fosston, MN – July, 8th 2016
Despite the troubling trend of small towns across the country losing their only grocery store, in Fosston, MN we’ve broken ground on an expansion that will more than double the size of our family owned store. The longstanding support of local shoppers is the one reason Palubicki’s Foods and Deli continues to grow during challenging times for supermarkets in rural communities.
Other Minnesota towns haven’t been as fortunate. The Star Tribune reported the closure of Zup’s Food Market in Aurora in January, noting that outstate Minnesota lost 14 percent of its grocery stores between 2000 and 2013.
In April, the Mankato Free Press reported on efforts in Kiester, MN to open a community grocery store two years after a local market went out of business there. It’s been an uphill battle, but it shows how people will band together to ensure fresh food is available in their communities. The main challenge, the Free Press article notes, is that “already low profit margins have been pinched even tighter by big-box competition.”
The June issue of Grocery Headquarters featured an article about how changing population and shopping patterns have caused scores of supermarkets to close across small-town America. The story quotes Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association, who says the challenge is the changing demographics in rural communities.
“You’re seeing a shift in the economy,” Pfuhl said. “We’re seeing an aging population and a more transient consumer that is making greater choices, including driving 15 to 20 miles to go to a supercenter. We get consumers calling. We get cities calling frustrated that there is nowhere to pick up milk or eggs. But those convenience stops don’t keep the grocer alive. We find the consumer wants it when they want it, but they don’t generally want to support it. They’ll say, ‘It is cheaper to drive to X Big City and shop at X Super Center. I have to shop there to support my family, but I really need that corner grocer if I have to pick up a box of cake mix.’ Truth is, that does not keep that small town grocer alive.”
When consumers choose to drive to bigger cities to shop at supercenters, it not only affects the local store’s bottom line, but also the families that earn their living working there. At Palubicki’s Foods and Deli and Palubicki’s Express, we’re proud to have over 70 employees serving our community. We’re all in it together.
While many small towns are losing their grocery store or struggling to keep it open, we’re making giants strides to strengthen Palubicki’s commitment to the Fosston area by expanding our store, creating new jobs and continuing to bring fresh food and fresh ideas to the area.
Our new 43,000-square-foot store will bring more jobs, a huge tax benefit to the school district and city and boost the entire community in numerous ways beyond the improved shopping experience. As always Palubicki’s will be your low price leader, grocery costs will not be increased because of the new store, but prices will be even lower due to the ability to buy smarter and in larger volumes.
Without our loyal customers—the friends and neighbors who’ve helped us to grow for decades—we couldn’t do it. So please join us when our new store opens in December with wider aisles and more choices—including a greater variety of locally sourced, natural foods. We can’t wait to launch the next chapter of our story and prove some small-town grocers are here to stay.
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