Locally owned grocers in rural Kan. working extra to keep prices down

Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 6:39 PM CST
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MARQUETTE, Kan. (KWCH) - If you’ve noticed your grocery bills climbing over the past year, you’ll likely see prices on the shelves go up through this year. A report this week from Goldman Sachs predicts prices could climb another six percent by the end of this year.

Thursday morning, The Labor Department said that consumer prices jumped 7.5% last month compared with a year earlier, the steepest year-over-year increase since February 1982.

It’s a direct result of supply chain issues impacting markets everywhere. But in rural Kansas, locally owned grocers are working harder than ever to keep prices down.

“If possible, we try to eat the increase as much as we can, but maybe after two or three increases, you have to take the increase,” said Piper’s Fine Foods owner Steve Piper.

The grocery store in Marquette is among many that are also struggling to get some of their usual items. While there are other options and some that are a bit cheaper, Piper said he doesn’t want to sacrifice the quality of food he provides for his community.

“We sell U.S. Choice beef and we’re not going to go down to a lower choice of meat to get the price down,” he said.

Piper said his business has taken additional steps to reduce its overhead costs and bills. This includes getting rid of some old refrigerators and freezers and investing in new, more energy efficient options.

While he wants to keep prices reasonable for the McPherson County community it’s store has served for seven decades, Piper’s Fine Foods still needs to make a profit to stay open, especially being in rural Kansas.

“We’ve you know, lowered our margin on some things, you know, just try the best we can to be a good neighbor and help people out. But the supply chain is what’s really driving things,” Piper said. “It about drives you nuts when you get your order, and you get maybe 60 percent of what you ordered.”

But through the struggles caused by a strained supply chain, Piper said this challenge has forced them to become better grocers.

“We’ve learned to live with it, just makes you work a little bit harder,” he said.

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