Walsh, Colorado is the sort of frontier town that doesn’t know what the word “can’t” means. A few years back the only grocery store in Walsh closed, creating a 20 mile drive to the nearest grocery store. A bad winter and 4 ft snow drifts made residents go days without being able to get to a grocery store.
Town elders and officials gathered to talk about groceries and marketing. Deciding against a feasibility study, the town called a meeting. There people voted to open the store as a cooperative. More than 300 people bought shares at $50.00 a piece. That combined with a no interest loan from Southeast Colorado Power Association was enough to get it open.
The store is thriving and is open 7 days a week with 14 employees. Customers love the fresh produce, organic foods and fresh meat. The store had $1 million in gross sales the first year and continues to be in the black. The town’s success has become a model for other Great Plains and Midwestern small towns trying to save their grocery stores, which sociologists call one of the five necessary anchors for a stable community.
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