Updated: February 24, 2020 10:27 PM
Created: February 17, 2020 01:43 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Nearly two million people in Minnesota live in a “food desert”, but one family in Rushford is trying to solve the problem one shopper at a time.
A food desert is defined as an area where people have to drive at least 10 miles to find a full-service grocery store with fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Southeastern Minnesota is considered a food desert.
Jim Hoiness and his son Brad own and operate Rushford Foods. Jim started the business in 1975 in Rushford and has since expanded to two other stories in Preston and Harmony. He says it is critical he stay in business to serve the people living in the rural areas around Rushford, but staying in business and staying profitable is difficult.
Some of the chain operations are moving in, stores like Family Dollar and with their large bulk buying power, they can sometimes offer lower prices. Hoiness says if he is going to compete with the large chain stores he must do two things, stay personal and take risks to grow and expand. He says his employees are loyal and they know most of the people who shop in his store. He also says his son Brad has been investing in computer technology to help keep food costs down and in energy-saving lighting and refrigeration.
Hoiness hopes he is designing the new country store and he expects his son to carry on the tradition and service southeastern Minnesota grocery shoppers for generations to come.
For more information on Rushford Foods, visit their website.
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