Cornhusker Economics

Cornhusker Economics

Community Ownership of Essential Businesses in Small Nebraska Towns


Some communities in rural Nebraska are facing the closure of what many would consider an essential business in their community. Grocery stores, cafés and restaurants, clothing, hardware, gas/service stations, and variety stores often top the lists of businesses calling it quits. Most of the time the business is the only one of its kind in town.

The decision to close a store can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Oftentimes in the case of local owners, longtime owners are retiring with no succession plan or someone to take over the family business. Sometimes a store closes due to health reasons of the owners. The volume of business, or lack thereof, may contribute to the decision to close as well.

Whatever the reason, the closing of a primary business in a community can have far reaching effects. It is likely to affect every other business in town in some fashion with a reduction of customer traffic and economic activity. The closing of the business certainly affects the current residents in that they now have no choice but to travel out of town to buy what used to be available locally. Over the long term, business closures may affect the property values of homes and businesses in the community. It may affect the attractiveness of a community for people who may be considering moving to the area. That affects schools and churches as well as other businesses.

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2017 Cornhusker Economics


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