Community-Owned Store Fills Space Vacated by Big Box
in 2005, Duckwall-Alco Stores decided it was going to close its store
in rural Clark, S.D. after determining the unit was not generating enough
profits to make it worthwhile to operate. While the move may have made
bottom line sense for the retailer, area residents were losing the only
store in town. Now, they were facing a 45-minute drive to get to the
nearest store to buy items for their everyday needs.
didn’t take long for residents in Clark to decide that long-distance
commuting to shop was not for them and they came together to open the
Clark Hometown Variety Store earlier this year. The store is owned by
the residents and none are allowed to hold more than three percent of
its outstanding shares, which are valued at $500.
Clark story is not unusual and is part of the growing community-owned
store movement in the United States, according to a report by the Epoch
for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), an anti-big box group, claims there are
now nearly 300 community- or consumer-owned stores in the U.S. generating
annual sales in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
to the group’s Big Box Toolkit blog, “Community-owned stores are designed
by residents to meet specific local shopping needs. Most of those that
have opened thus far are downtown department stores that sell affordable
clothing, shoes, and housewares.”
Questions: Do you see the community store movement growing beyond rural
areas to more populated suburban and urban locations? Are you familiar
with any consumer-owned stores and how do they compare with big box merchants?