Calhoun County in a Food Desert After Two Local Grocery Stores Close

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ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa- Over the past three months two grocery stores have ceased operation in the towns of Rockwell City, and Manson. That leaves just one operating grocer in the county in Lake City. Though convenience stores and Dollar General operate in both towns, but still residents have to drive 15 miles or more to get their meats and fresh fruits.

“Right now we just have the grocery store in Lake city but we used to have one in Manson and Rockwell city that were owned the same owner and unfortunately he wasn’t able to keep those businesses going, so both of those have now closed,” said Jill Heisterkamp, Executive Director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Corporation. “One closed inNovember. the other closed right at the end of December.”

The Food Desert concept originally came about in large urban areas facing a lack of food choices.

“I believe it’s either five or 10 miles if you have to travel that far to get groceries you considered a food desert which that is the case right now for Calhoun County,” said Heisterkamp. “I think it’s kind of ironic that where the food is grown is becoming a food desert.”

A meeting was held this week in the town of Manson to try to reopen this store. People are working to raise funds to get the store in operation.

“There’s a local organization Manson Economic Development that does some facilitating buildings and loans, they’ve actually agreed to purchase the building from the current owner,” said Heisterkamp. “Dayton and those have been operating for a while, about six years I believe, as a community base store, so kind of as an idea is this something thats possible?”

In Rockwell City they are considering which option to adopt to get that store to reopen. Economic Development contacted stores like Hy-Vee and others to see if they would come here, but so far have gotten no interest.

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