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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.
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.
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.
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