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Michigan community within $15,000 of goal to reopen grocery store

The community of Michigan, N.D., is within $15,000 of its $140,000 goal to reopen the only grocery store in the town of 345. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office is offering a $70,000 grant if the community can match that...

The community of Michigan, N.D., is within $15,000 of its $140,000 goal to reopen the only grocery store in the town of 345.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development office is offering a $70,000 grant if the community can match that amount, local leaders said.

That should be no problem, they said. Area residents are so enthused that 17 families have donated $1,000 each. That's like tacking on $19 to every weekly grocery bill in a year.

They join corporate donors such as First United Bank, Michigan Implement and Nelson County Job Development Authority, which donated $10,000 each. Fargo Assembly Co., a bus wire harness manufacturer located in the former Michigan School building, donated $5,000. Choice Financial contributed $1,000.

According to Mayor Allen Orwick, the community has raised $55,000.

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Michigan has been without a grocery store for the first time in its 125-year history since Johner's Fairway closed May 30. The community will observe its 125th anniversary July 24 to 27.

The Michigan Job Development Authority plans to use the money raised to buy the building and equipment, and then lease the store to a new grocery operator. The JDA also is offering a financial package to the operator to get started.

"The importance of this project can't be underestimated," Julius Wangler, executive director of the Red River Regional Council said recently. "It gets to be pretty stressful if you have to drive a considerable distance for groceries."

The nearest store is 10 miles west in Lakota.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

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