(KXNET) — It doesn’t come with a big sticker price, but one new bill could give a boost to small-town grocery stores.
Senate Bill 2273 creates a $1 million grant program for rural grocery stores and ensures small towns have access to fresh food. The grant money will be given out by the state Department of Commerce.
Over the last few years, many small stores have struggled with rising prices, low populations, and even food suppliers who have stopped delivering to the towns.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate this week.
“The business model, distribution model today is set up for millions of people, we don’t have millions of people in North Dakota,” Allan Tellmann, owner of Tellmann’s Market in New Salem said. “So, any time you drop to a smaller number than they’re designed for, it’s either going to get expensive or it’s going to disappear.”
“And the grant program will help get some of the front-end money going so that they can come up with various coalitions or co-ops to probably several communities, share some costs,” Rep. SuAnn Olson said.
House lawmakers gave final approval to the bill on Thursday.