Market on Market
Feature written in September 2020
FHLB Des Moines Member: Heartland Bank
December 2019 brought unwelcome news for residents of Gowrie. Learning that their only grocery store, and the only grocery store in a 13-mile radius, would soon be closing, the community took immediate action. A group of leaders decided to create a community grassroots effort to gain local control of the grocery store to keep it open. In January 2020, they set a goal to raise $250,000 to purchase the store. Within 10 days, and with the support of local businesses, elected officials, the media, and surrounding communities, the funds were raised and Gowrie Grocery LLC was born.
From there, they continued to clear hurdles related to acquiring the store, developing an organizational structure, completing assessments and inspections, establishing an LLC, securing a wholesale cooperative agreement, and creating a capital strategy to get the store up and running.
Gowrie Grocery LLC opened as Market on Market on April 25, 2020. After only just a few months, the store was self-sustainable, surpassing previous metrics and store sales despite re-opening during the pandemic. The success of saving Gowrie's grocery store was a pivotal moment in the future of the community, which could be argued was a decision that saved the community.
Along with saving their grocery store, community members wanted to take this opportunity to address another growing need in their town – food scarcity and access for individuals who are homebound due to health or mobility reasons. Leaders established a food delivery program through Market on Market, which provides contactless food delivery to the greater Gowrie community.
The health and viability of a community’s grocery store is a predictor of other positive outcomes in a community. Gowrie plans to enhance Market on Market through incorporating additional accessibility enhancements, a deli counter, exterior façade repairs and more.