A story in USATODAY.com talks about how the residents of Clark South Dakota created a new General Store after the older, franchise store was closed by the parent company. A store that is more responsive to the community’s needs because it is own by the community.
[M]ore than 100 people in Clark have purchased $500 shares to finance the opening of the Clark Hometown Variety Store. The store will take the place of the Duckwall store, which was one of 20 underperforming stores parent company Duckwall-Alco Stores of Kansas closed in 2005.
“We had no place in town to buy a pair of shoelaces or buy socks or underwear or any of those things,” says Greg Furness, a shareholder who runs the local funeral home. Residents, he says, had to make a 40-minute drive — sometimes in treacherous winter conditions — to Watertown every time they needed supplies.
This is a great example of a community banding together to provide themselves a service, in this case a general store, that a large franchise deemed unprofitable. So how does this mesh in with the sustainable lifestyle? Well, for one, a community owned store has to answer to its stockholders, the people who invested in it. They have a say in the type of products that the store sells, and they can ask that the store sells locally sourced products. It may mean higher prices for goods and services, but at least the community has a say.