Miltona, Minn., (pop. 408) is the latest small town to lose its small grocery store and some people in town are none too happy about it. But the people in the Douglas County town are primarily responsible for the closing. Enough of them decided to shop at the big-box retailers instead.
Bob Guetter has run the store for 25 years and for the last year he’s tried to find someone to buy it from him. No luck.
“It was a very difficult decision to close a small town grocery store as I know every community needs one,” he tells the Alexandria Echo Press.
But it’s a tough slog against the giant retailers whose mission is to rob small towns of the glue that provides a sense of community.
“I love the customers, my friends, and the time I’ve spent with them,” said Guetter. “I’ve loved watching my kids grow up in the business, along with the kids of my friends. I’ve enjoyed it all and there wasn’t a lot of challenges.”
“It’s a very sad thing for this town,” said Janet Olstad, a member of one of the coffee clubs that meets at the store. “He has to do what he has to do. I understand, but it’s still sad.”
Weep not for the coffee clubs, however. They’ll meet in the liquor store next door.
Related: The future of rural grocery stores (University of Minnesota)