One of the advantages of living in town over living in the country is that folks should be able to walk to the grocery store. But with SpartanNash closing three grocery stores in Rapid City, that advantage is fading for a lot of Rapid City residents, particularly lower-income residents with limited transportation downtown and on the north side.
SDPB’s Lee Strubinger gets this cool map from Rapid City Collective Impact and Feeding South Dakota to show the gaps that will be left in walkable access to grocery stores by the closing of Prairie Market at 11 New York Street, Family Thrift Center at 855 Omaha St., and Family Thrift Express at 3464 Sturgis Road. I add those three stores and the walkable half-mile radii around them.
Note that none of these three closing stores overlap with the half-mile radius of any other major grocery store on the map. I’d be curious to learn what market forces dictated these closures… and whether any other operators could do better amidst those market forces.
Rapid City should encourage other grocers to give it a try. As expressed in a July 30 editorial in the Rapid City Journal, economic development means developing the whole city. Grocery stores are one of the most basic components of a whole city. The ability to walk to the grocery store is good not just for low-income folks but for anyone who lives and works downtown. Rapid City leaders recruit new grocers to fill these empty stores and the looming gaps in walkable shopping for basic provisions in the center of the city.