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Some thoughts about Grinnell's food economy

From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grinnell,_Iowa)

There are four grocery stores serving Grinnell.

* Hy-Vee Food Stores - Located on the very far southern edge of town. There is no sidewalk or other way for bikers and pedestrians to get to Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee offers drive-up service upon request (you drive to the side of the store and they will load your car with your packages for you). Hy-Vee is open on Sundays.
* McNally's - This locally owned independent store is the most centrally located grocery store in town. It has the widest selection of gourmet food products as well as a large alcohol section. This store caters to the college crowd and to those looking for upscale or smaller-market products. McNally's has carry out boys and they will also deliver. McNally's is open on Sundays.
* Fareway - This store is slightly west, but still fairly centrally located.
* Super Wal*Mart - Opened in the Spring of 2006, the Super Wal*Mart is the only grocery store open 24 hours a day.

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McNally's, the second of the four listed stores, is evidence that shoppers in Grinnell do, indeed, take factors other than price into account when making buying decisions. McNally's prices are higher than those of the other three retailer for nearly every product; if consumers bought strictly based on price, McNally's would've gone out of business long ago. McNally's stays open because of its small business appeal, its long stay in Grinnell, and the sense of community that it helps to foster, among other things. It is proof that a business that caters to something other than their costumers' checkbooks can succeed.

That said, Walmart (and, as of the spring, Super Walmart), dominates the local food economy. It would be interesting to examine the relative market share of McNally's and Walmart over time, to see if buyers are shifting towards or away from the "Walmart brand" of consumerism.

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