For the past year, Economic Development had been making plans to construct a two-story building at 202 N. Main in St. John across from Gray’s Photo Studio. This new structure would not only provide working space for an entrepreneur, but also living quarters.
Meanwhile, Economic Development had the opportunity to buy a building that fit our proposed construction plans. Eco Devo now owns the building at 311 N. Broadway in St. John on the east side of the City Square. The main level is an open area that will be utilized as working space. The second floor is a three-bedroom apartment with a bathroom, living room and kitchen. This building has been used as a restaurant, flower shop, and insurance office in the past.
Immediately occupying the space will be the new pharmacy, Stafford County Drug. The intent is that they will rent this space until the new grocery store is constructed on U.S. Highway 281, at which time they will move out there and even have a drive through window.
Stafford County Drug has been ready to start their physical business in Stafford County for a while now, but ran in to that question of where does one go. It’s kind of that illogical paradox that even though we don’t have a lot of new business creation, one of the hard things is to find available space. Eco Devo is trying to alleviate that with their business incubator.
There are some minor renovations going on inside the building before the pharmacy will open. So, there isn’t an official open date yet, but things are under way.
It's been roughly a generation since Stafford County last had a pharmacy.
Having a tenant right away will give Eco Devo staff a little bit of time to develop our next plan for what the incubator will be. Eco Devo very much wants to use the idea that it has residential space. Staff members think it could be helpful to place interns in the area, or even recruit college students that are studying entrepreneurship to give them a more defined way to launch their business. Staff will now begin to develop an application, find additional sources of funding, and even develop policy and procedures for future tenants.
In April, Golden Belt Community Foundation was selected as a participant for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and the Aspen Institute's Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovators Network (REDPIN).
Stafford County Economic Development's Staff member, Carolyn Dunn assisted Golden Belt Community Foundation with their application earlier this year. Dunn is part of Golden Belt Community Foundation's core team for this networking opportunity that will take them around the Country learning from other foundations. This will be an 18-month peer learning network exploring philanthropy's role in rural economic development.
From Golden Belt Community Foundation's Spring 2017 Newsletter:
GBCF Accepted Into Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovators Network (REDPIN)
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE) and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (Aspen CSG), is pleased to announce the nine community foundations from across the US selected to participate in an 18-month peer learning network exploring philanthrophy's role in rural economic development - the Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovator's Network (REDPIN).
REDPIN will expose participants to a range of economic development practices and provide them with an environment of peer advising and support. As part of the network, each participating foundation will analyze their local economy and apply community and economic development tools to improve their region's prospects, with a special emphasis on helping low-income families, communities and businesses do better. The network is being launched with initial funding provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and by participating foundations.
"REDPIN presents an opportunity to think differently about how the Golden Belt Community Foundation can increase impact across the four county area," Christy Tustin, Executive Director state, "We hope to learn strategies for rural family, business and/or community economic success."
The network was developed following the success of two national workshops Aspen CSG and the Center offered in 2015 and 2016. These workshops explored innovative roles place-rooted foundations are taking in economic development. CRE and Aspen CSG also outlined the potential for community foundations to play economic leadership roles in A New Domain for Place-Rooted Foundations: Economic Development Philanthropy (The Foundation Review, September 2016). This article provides an overview of the thinking and approach that underlies REDPIN. The first gathering of selected foundations will take place in late spring.
What is Economic or Community Development Philanthropy?
Foundations practice community development philanthropy when they address critical community issues and play integrating or missing roles to advance regional economic development in ways that build enduring prosperity and livelihoods for all, especially those at the margins.
Congrats to the following participating foundations:
Stafford County Economic Development and the City of St. John announced today that a Letter of Intent with White’s Foodliner has been signed to establish a grocery store in St. John. The Letter of Intent outlines the expectation to enter into a 10 year lease to operate a grocery store provided that conditions are met, principally to finance and construct a building that contains features recommended in two feasibility studies.
“We had a group of citizens who met for many months to consider the best options for our town. The grocery committee considered White’s Foodliner to be the best option because of their solid track record in small town grocery merchandizing, financial strength, and the fact that they have two generations involved in the business suggesting they’ll be in business for a long time to come. This is a great step forward,” said Tonya Sanders, Chairperson of the city-council appointed Grocery Store Task Force.
White’s Foodliner is a family owned and managed business started in 1953 by Joe and Frances White in Coldwater, KS. Over the years, the company has expanded and contracted and has owned as many as seven stores. Today, the company is owned by their son, Pat White and his wife Tonya. A third generation, Joe and Frances’ grandsons Jordan and Brennan White, along with a great group of longtime managers and department heads manage the businesses with locations in Kingman, Medicine Lodge, Phillipsburg, and Pawnee, OK. White's management and board have strived through the years to reinvest in their stores and communities by updating stores with new equipment and building renovations or new construction. The company takes pride in small towns and understands that small town schools are the backbone and a focal point of communities. They actively support local schools, students, and activities as well as help with the yearly and special events in cities and counties where they do business.
“We are excited to take this next step in our partnership with St. John and the Stafford County Economic Development Board to make this project a reality. The Letter of Intent illustrates the commitment and vision of both sides to bring an essential business back to the St. John community,” said Pat White. “The White family applauds the efforts of the St. John community and their leadership, and are inspired by their vision and their relentless pursuit to fill this void in the community. While our monetary investment might be less than is customary in a development such as this, we pledge our time, effort and any expertise to make this a venture that the community will be proud of and will be an example for other communities in how to keep their towns alive and vibrant.”
Under the agreement, White’s Foodliner will rent the facility and operate a grocery store in a building locally owned by Stafford County Economic Development. A feasibility study conducted in October showed that grocery sales would be nearly 41% higher in a new, bigger, building with higher visibility than would sales in the former grocery location. It also illustrated that the grocery store is more likely to be successful if other businesses are co-located at the facility to drive traffic. A pharmacy is planned to be co-located, and will be owned and operated separately. Additionally, a study conducted in March that focused on fuel sales showed that adding fuel pumps would increase non-fuel sales at the grocery store by up to 15%. Data shows that fuel sales in Stafford County are up to 61% less than other counties of the same size in Kansas, illustrating that consumers go out of the county for fuel purchases as for many other goods. It suggests that coupling incentives for grocery purchases and fuel sales, as many major grocers do, is an effective tool for capturing sales. All of these factors together are projected to be necessary to make a small town business possible.
The new business is expected to add $500,000 in local payroll, add $60,000 per year in local sales and property tax, purchase $50,000 per year in electricity from the City owned utility, and create 30 to 35 full and part-time jobs.
A Letter of Intent is a document outlining one or more agreements between two parties before the agreements are finalized. The LOI between White’s Foodliner and Stafford County Economic Development declares intent to enter into a binding long term lease agreement, and is subject to conditions, principally that a building is financed, constructed and available to rent at pre-determined terms. The Letter of Intent is significant in acquiring financing and collecting bids for construction. If construction bids for the new building are significantly higher than projected making financing impossible, or anticipated financing does not happen, the parties will not enter into any further lease agreement.
For more information on White's Foodliner, visit http://whitesfoodlinerkingman.com/aboutwhitesfoodlinerkingman.com/about.
Stafford County Economic Development
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