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shopko: a pledge to small town america

 We recently took a drive through Wyoming on our way to Chadron, Ne for nachos. Along the way, we saw several Shopko’s with signs indicating an impending closure. These Shopko stores, most of which were in small towns, appeared to be the leading store for that community. As we continued our drive, I wondered how far the folks who live in these towns would need to drive to get comparable services to those they would lose by the closure of their local Shopko. Times are changing, and so are the dynamics that support small-town America. What do we lose in allowing these backbone communities, which once thrived, to deteriorate continually? It is a habit of ours to stop into local café’s in these small towns when we drive through and when one is still available. I love sitting in any of these little shops for a cup of coffee. They were more popular than Paul Harvey as a place to receive local news and storied gossip. Now the once loved café/coffee shop has become a place of history. Locals tell the stories of yesterday, more so than tomorrow’s plans. It breaks my heart. 

     Could the internet save these communities? With the ability to work from home and have goods shipped to your house on-demand, modern life can be maintained. With technological innovation supporting these communities, a resurgence in the popularity of a simpler life may be in the future of a determined millennial population. A look at any small-town community today will provide a glimpse of lower real estate prices and open opportunities. It used to be that businesses in small towns were generational. If your dad owned the grocery store or drug store, then you would probably take over for them when the time came. Today, when the time comes, these businesses either close or corporate America buy the company and take from the community rather than add value through community reinvestment. 

     If your dad was a farmer, it used to be that you would farm. The farmers of yesterday are going to the local assisted living, too old from their arduous labors to continue. There is no lineage in agriculture anymore. Kids today do not want to be farmers tomorrow. They want to confirm. Instead of living a life of independence where responsibility for one’s actions daily is the main determining factor of tomorrow’s success. The traditional farming lifestyle. So the farmer retires, and his children sell off his land and accomplishments to cover his expenses to death. Growing up in a farming community, as I did, breaks my heart. 

     I always say that for every situation, there is Vandergraph Innovation. As we drive through these towns, I still think, “You know we have a hardware storesporting goodsgrocery storefarm and ranch supply store, dollar store, and 45 other stories on that could provide for the loss of services in small-town America.” We can ship anywhere, and we have almost anything a person living in a small town community would need. As a part of the business we do in these communities, there is an economic reinvestment that the Bargainbrute organization would make. This reinvestment comes as community services, financial support, scholarships, and grants. Also, the Female Empowerment campaign the executive board of Vandergraph Worldwide is investing millions of dollars in could be leveraged to find gainful employment and education opportunities for the women in these small towns. This support will include home school opportunities and child care grants. Together we are strong. I want to invite small cities and rural America to visit for all of your shopping needs and ask that you reach out to us regarding community partnerships and unique growth opportunities.


Visit and Support small town America by CLICKING HERE

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