Rural grocery store startup guide available

Grocery Store Start-Up and Operations GuideA new edition of the “Rural Grocery Store Start-Up and Operations Guide” has been released by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University. The guide is available for free download, ­according to Fred Iutzi, who manages IIRA’s outreach to the food and agriculture sectors.

“This guide is a valuable resource for Illinois entrepreneurs and ­community leaders interested in ­starting up, ­expanding or ­transitioning a grocery store in their rural ­communities,” he explained.

According to the IIRA’s Sean ­Park-lead author of the new edition and a former grocery store manager-the new edition is greatly revised and expanded and reviews best practices for successfully operating a rural grocery store in the current retail environment.

“Readers will find answers on a range of basic questions about ­starting up a grocery store and making it ­succeed, from market ­analysis to equipment to inventory to cash flow,” Park said.

Three new ­supplements ­focusing on ­cooperative ­grocery stores, ­business succes­sion issues and indoor ­farmers’ ­markets accompany the guide, he added.

Download the guide at the IIRA’s rural grocery store resource page at

In addition to the new guide, IIRA has a ­variety of services ­available to ­businesses and/or ­community ­leaders ­concerned about access to a grocery store in their rural ­communities, ­including programs in community strategic visioning, applied economic analysis and small business start-up.

“We also emphasize the community ownership option for starting up a new grocery store, or as a ­succession plan for an ­existing business,” Iutzi added. Free technical assistance on using cooperatives, as well as other mutually owned ­business structures, is available from the Illinois Cooperative Development Center at IIRA.”

For more information about IIRA publications, tech­nical assistance and other resources, contact Iutzi at (309) 298-1453 or visit the IIRA online at