Use it or lose it. A Kansas grocery store owner says if residents don’t start to shop local, they may not have anywhere to shop all.
Argonia, Kansas is home to about 480 people. It’s also home to the only grocery store within about 20 miles.
“It’s unacceptable that people have to drive 15, 20, 25 miles just to get food for their family,” said Brent Bradley.
That’s why Brent Bradley and his wife decided to open Raider Pride Grocery in Argonia in October of 2017.
“It was definitely a town in need,” Bradley said. “My wife and I live in a small town. We started another store in Norwich three years ago. It became kind of a passion.”
The town of Argonia welcomed the couple and their store with open arms.
“Outrageous. It was more than we had thought it would be,” he said.
“It means a lot, especially as you get older. You don’t have to go 20 or 30 miles to get groceries and there are people in town that don’t have a car, so it really is a big boom to the town,” said resident Shirley Stansbury.
However, the business boom came to a screeching halt in December of 2017.
“I think old habits creeped in. I can’t explain why, but our sales plummeted,” Bradley said.
That’s when Bradley put a post on the business’s Facebook explaining the situation.
“I basically said friends, we were amazed at our initial reception, but our store has become unsustainable at current sales levels and just let them know that if we were to maintain a store in Argonia, it had to be used,” Bradley said.
Since then, Bradley said business has slightly increased, but admits the grocery store is still not profitable.
“It’s paying its bills. It’s not paying our bills,” he said.
Bradley said he’s hoping his social media post will start a local shopping movement.
“No matter what small town you’re in, if you want to maintain it, you must shop local,” Bradley said. “We really want people to take pride in their city and their town and the unique things we have here in Kansas and being rural.”
The grocery store said it has no plans to close. Bradley said he’s looking into other creative ways to advertise Raider Pride Grocery.