Sharing Stories of Everyday Good

Video Length: 6:14 Minutes

This small town had no grocery store. So they built their own.

The village of Cody, Nebraska (population 149) hadn't had a grocery store in more than a decade. Located just minutes from the South Dakota border, in a county larger than the state of Connecticut, residents had to drive 76 miles roundtrip to find basic necessities.

The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) proudly played a part in this rural success story.

Sign for C Market in a rural field The Circle C Market was the first grocery store in Cody in more than a decade. (Photo: Center for Rural Affairs)

In the spring of 2009, students and teachers at Cody-Kilgore High School contacted Kathie Starkweather, Farm & Community Director for CFRA, and their idea grew into a solid plan: a student business incubator with a grocery store as the flagship business. Starkweather then helped the community obtain a USDA Rural Development grant.

Town of Cody Nebraska The town of Cody, Nebraska is known as the town "too tough to die." (Photo: Center for Rural Affairs)

Over the next year and a half, Starkweather and the Center worked with project leaders to provide guidance and technical assistance, as well as point them towards other resources for success.
Starkweather recalled, “I remember having a focus group meeting and one of my favorite people, an older woman in the community, gave me a huge hug and said, ‘you know, this is about more than the grocery store. It’s about the entire community.'"

“It was an honor and a privilege getting to work with the teachers, students and community members on this project and the friendships I made in Cody will last forever,” said Starkweather.

Cody calls itself "The Town Too Tough to Die" — and with the opening of Circle C Market, we see exactly why.

This article previously appeared on The Center for Rural Affairs' blog on October 18, 2012.

The Center for Rural Affairs works to strengthen small towns and rural communities, small businesses, and family farming and ranching.

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