A quick run to the corner store is an errand no longer possible in many rural areas of Wyoming as small grocery stores are disappearing. And while Sheridan may not be considered a rural area, Bino's Grocery did close their doors earlier this year after many years of service in the community.
Two new studies from the Center for Rural Affairs explore the trend, examining why small town stores are important for access to healthy foods – and keeping rural economies healthy – as well as examining strategies to help stores be successful.
Researcher Jon Bailey with the center studied different ownership models, and discovered ones that have seen more success than traditional independently-owned operations.
Another factor at play in the vanishing local store: shopper preferences have changed, and chain grocery stores can offer better prices for those who can make a trip to a bigger town. Bailey says that travel is not always possible.
Bailey says no matter the model, a certain population level is needed for a store's success - about 35-hundred, and because rural communities are shrinking in population, it's tougher for small groceries to succeed. Downsides to small stores closing, according to Bailey, include a loss of tax revenue and a loss of character because stores are often community gathering places.