Local, state officials welcome new grocery store in FinleyTracy Stone remembers the day in February when she moved some food and equipment out of the old Stone’s Market in downtown Finley, N.D., to the new store in town.
By: Kevin Bonham, Grand Forks Herald
Tracy Stone remembers the day in February when she moved some food and equipment out of the old Stone’s Market in downtown Finley, N.D., to the new store in town.
Discovering a large gap in the floor, she was surprised the equipment hadn’t fallen through.
“It’s just like the building just gave up,” she said. “It’s falling apart. It’s sad.”
It reminded her of a rainy spring day in 2009, when water was leaking through the roof. Fortunately, it was leaking in a storeroom, not on the store shelves or on customers.
She’s smiling now, since she moved her store into a new building that’s owned by the Finley Economic Development Commission. Local residents and state officials celebrated the store’s grand opening Wednesday.
“Finley is excited about having the new grocery store,” Mayor Larry Amundson said at the grand open-ing. “It has taken some time but was worth the wait. I am proud of the Finley EDC for recognizing the need and stepping up to get the job done.”
The Finley EDC has raised more than $200,000 through donations and grants, so far.
Here is a breakdown of funding, both secured and pledged, according to Laurie Tuite, loan specialist with Griggs-Steele Empowerment Zone:
- $107,000 in donations from businesses and individuals.
- $50,000 pledged from the Steele County Jobs Development Authority.
- $50,000 grant pledged from a fund through the North Dakota governor’s office.
- $240,000 loan from Bank of North Dakota.
- $75,000 loan from the Griggs-Steele Empowerment Zone.
Unlike the old facility, the new store was designed with no steps to navigate, automatic doors and wider aisles, to make it more accessible for the elderly and handicapped residents. The 76-x-100 square foot facility is estimated to cost $550,000.
The old building was about 4,800 square feet.
The new business is located at the intersection of N.D. Highways 32 and 200, which makes it more visible to people passing through this community of 500.
“It’s a wonderful location,” Tuite said. “It’s doing very well, and we’re so proud of it.”
Allan and Tracy Stone purchased the grocery store, formerly Dale’s Super Valu, from the late Dale Severson in 2002. The Stones already owned Stone’s Market in nearby Aneta, N.D., so Tracy ran the Finley store while Allan ran the store in Aneta until it later was sold. Stone’s Market is the only grocery store within a twenty-mile radius of Finley.
The Stones said they couldn’t have raised the money to build their own new store.
“A grocery store in rural North Dakota is not a convenience but a necessity,” said Scott Sayer, EDC president. “That is why the EDC has taken on the role of landlord, to ensure that a grocery store remains in Finley now and in the future.”
“This project is a great example of a community banding together to support a local business,” said USDA Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider. “It is vital for residents in rural communities to have access to basic amenities such as a grocery store.”
Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to email@example.com.