My Side of the Fencepost

A small town fights the good fight

By Jim Dickerson 

I’ve heard and written enough about the national economy and the economic stimulus package. I’m returning this week to the home front.

I’ve always believed in small towns. They have personality. They tend to produce people who genuinely care about each other; and when those small town people join together to meet a common goal, they are capable of great things.

So, I like to see small communities take on challenges and succeed. It’s even better when several small communities can band together and help each other out. That is the general idea behind the Boone County Development Agency, which is intended to unite the entire county behind common economic development goals.

With the economy in the shape it’s in right now, communities of every size are simply trying to maintain what they have. The list of challenges can vary from town to town, but they still have similarities. Whether the community is working to get an ethanol plant reopened, keep its schools funded and viable, or maintain its business district, it needs concerned and involved citizens.


Right now, the community of Petersburg is facing a challenge in keeping its grocery store open. The local store has been struggling to meet the sales volumes necessary to achieve profitability and remain in business. Their local development corporation and community leaders are working on several fronts to keep their local business.

In addition to meeting with the wholesale supplier and others who may be able to help, the Petersburg community will be “going public” with an appeal to increase the store’s patronage and help it reach a sales level that would keep it viable.

They realize that a local grocery store is vital to the community’s overall business district and quality of life. They know that the loss of a “kingpin” business like this could quickly lead to the closing of another business and then another, until very little is left of the business district.

For those reasons, this is being treated more like a campaign to preserve an important public facility than a private business — because in a small town, the grocery store is that important. Owner Larry Temme has already stated that, even though he and his wife Radene are the store owners, “it really belongs to the community.”

So, Petersburg area residents will be told the history of the store, the current operating status, monthly sales and the sales goals that must be met to keep the store open.

The concerned and involved citizens are in place and ready to do what they can. Hopefully, their numbers will grow.

All the cards have been laid on the table.

Petersburg will be fighting the good fight, and we hope the community can succeed.