Tipton store continues to thrive despite decline in rural grocery stores


Tipton store continues to thrive despite decline in rural grocery stores 

By Alicia Tarancon, KCRG-TV9          

TIPTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) Grocery stores are becoming a luxury in parts of Iowa.

From 1995 to 2010, the Center for Rural Affairs says Iowa lost nearly half of its grocery stores.

For instance, many people have to drive more than 30 minutes or more just to get milk or eggs.

It's something a lot of people take for granted, but that's not the case in Tipton.

While many rural stores are closing from a decline in customers and competition from larger chains, Family Foods keeps going strong.

The Owner of Family Foods in Tipton, Mike Goetz is no stranger to the grocery business.

His father opened Family Foods back in 1964 and it's been in his family ever since.

“I started in it when I was 10-years-old, my first job was sweeping the parking lot, it's just something you get in your blood and it stays there,” says Goetz.

But over the last forty years he's watched two other grocery stores in Tipton close their doors for good.

He says nowadays it's getting harder and more expensive to keep a rural grocery store running.

"It's not like you could get into the grocery business for $5,000 anymore, it's just the cost of doing business, healthcare, taxes, regulation, the larger stores have personnel to do that, in a smaller store that basically falls on the owner,” says Goetz.

There's also competition from larger chain stores, like the Walmart on the north side of Tipton.

Family Foods is the only grocery store in town and that's why shoppers like Justine Reynolds don't want to imagine the town without it.

“You would lose the friendly service, you know they greet you, they help you, they walk you to what you're looking for, it's just I don't know what I would do (without it),” says Reynolds.

Reynolds lives only a block away and she shops at Family Foods almost every day.

And if the store wasn't around she would have to waste her gas and time driving at least 30 minutes for groceries.

"It's just I really don't want to drive to Iowa City or any place else, it's just so much easier,” says Reynolds.

Goetz says when it comes to running a small grocery store, most people just don't want to put in the time and effort anymore.

“It requires a lot of hours, you're not going to have weekends off, you know you're going to work some weekends, you're going to work holidays and if you're a small business owner you've got to be dedicated,” he says.

But despite the challenges of running a rural grocery store, Goetz and his staff of 87 have received a lot of support from the Tipton area amd support from his family as his son continues the family legacy at Family Foods.

"Brad's starting the third generation of Family Foods and we’re happy to have him on board and he's going to stay in the business and hopefully grow it,” says Goetz.

And Goetz says it's important for small town grocery stores to be a part of the community.

His store will usually host fund-raisers throughout the year to support Tipton. 

Source: http://www.kcrg.com