Hanna Grocery Store?

old Hanna Food Mart

Kyle and Amelia Young want to open a store in Hanna. They have been working on their dream for over a year, but they have been stymied by banks’ hesitancy to take a chance on this young (no pun intended) couple. At this time, they are waiting for a loan to come through from either a bank in Craig or Laramie.

The Hanna Food Mart, formerly the only grocery store in Hanna, closed in 2010. Andy and Sandy Jones, owners for over 10 years, cited the bad national economy with Hanna’s loss of area jobs and population as the reason the store was no longer profitable. However, by that summer, Rodney and Linda Declue, a couple from Missouri, opened the doors again in the same building, albeit on a smaller scale. Lacking “deep pockets,” they could not afford to stock a sufficiently full array of items to keep locals from making the 80-mile there-and-back trek to Rawlins or Saratoga or the 140-mile round trip to Laramie. The Declues had more success in building up a restaurant trade, which they then moved to a smaller building on Jade Street to lessen their overhead. They still stocked a few very basic grocery items in a small back room, but when the couple moved to Rawlins and closed their business in 2012, Hanna was left without any store at all. The only convenience store, a Kum-and-Go had shut its doors and nailed plywood over its windows in 2003.

Enter Kyle and Amelia Young. Kyle was born in Hanna, but when Kyle was 17 his father was transferred to a coal mine near Craig, Colorado, due to the mine shutdown in Hanna. Kyle spent his senior year in Craig where he met his future wife, Amelia, but they didn’t start dating until he returned from his mission in Mexico in 2005.

Kyle and his family moved back to Hanna in the fall of 2012. When asked why, Young answered, “Well, I like it here. Like Dorothy would say, ‘There’s no place like home.’ ” Young also asserts that the move also makes good business sense. He said, “The old adage goes, ‘To have a successful business, find a need and fill it.’ There is a definite need for a store in Hanna. I have business reports from two different companies that say so. Better than that though is the reaction I get from people who hear my plans. I have literally been hugged in the street when I have shared my desire to open a store.”

Amelia Young, though she was born and raised in Craig, Colorado, is pleased with her new town. She said, “I like the small size and the slow pace. There is a peacefulness to Hanna. It is a great place to raise your kids because you don’t have to worry as much about them. The school system is really good here too. I really like the teachers.”

Kyle continued, “I am a small crowd kind of person. I appreciate living on a street where the most frequent visitors are a deer and her two fawns. We have found great people who share our interests and values. We bought our house from a gentleman who sold it to us without a bank because he knows the character of my parents and grandparents. It was small-town trust.”

Kyle Young gained a love for entrepreneurship while doing his graduate school work in Logan, Utah. He did well in a mock business start-up competition and said, “It really got me thinking about business. I have a somewhat scattered personality. I like to work on a project for a few hours, switch directions work on something else for a while, and then come back to what I was doing before. Being a small business owner means wearing a lot of hats, and that means that I can control my schedule and use my scattered personality to its highest potential.”

He said, ” I love planning. I think of the store constantly. It feels like a big board game sometimes, and I really get a kick out of bringing all the pieces together. In fact, I already have most of the suppliers set up. I am just working on financing to get things going with the store.”

Associated Foods will be the Youngs’ main supplier; they carry Western Family and Shurfine labels, as well as name brands. The Youngs plan to have baked goods, meats, and vegetables as well as packaged and canned items, convenience items, home improvement, and automotive items. They plan to lease the former grocery store premises in Miner Plaza from Everett Grubb.

In the meantime, Kyle works piloting oversized truck loads. He and Amelia have also been substitute teaching at the local schools. They have just started to renovate a new house that they will buy soon and, of course, they are busy with their four children, Elliona (7), Derrik (5), Seraphina (2), and newborn Genevieve.

Kyle Young does not assume people in Hanna will stop shopping in Rawlins or Laramie and spend money exclusively in his store, but he feels he can offer enough variety and competitive pricing to convince people to make the trip to town less frequently.

“I’ll never be able to beat Walmart, but I can beat Wal-Mart if you only need a gallon of milk…. Because that 70 miles there and back is worth more than the 15 cents extra you’ll pay for milk… I don’t have dreams that I will be able to supply food for people exclusively, because there are things that I can’t carry that even I want, for example, expensive cheeses every now and then. But instead of going every week, people only have to go into town once a month or less. That is the goal. I can’t say I can beat prices, but they will be comparable to Rawlins and Saratoga.”

Also, as a strategy to stay competitive, the Youngs plan “almost-at-cost, anytime bulk sales.” “No need to wait for a case lot sale,” Kyle says. “If you want something that I don’t sell, whether it is a different brand or different size or just a product I don’t carry and, if you don’t mind getting a whole case of it… I can give it to people cheaper because I don’t have to stock it on the shelves. That is what will stop people from going to Wal-Mart.”

When asked when they plan to be open for business, Kyle cautioned, “We still do not have any of the financing needed to start the store. We have a couple of good leads but nothing secure yet. In fact, the banks can’t really tell me how long the approval process would take. If they say no, then there is a big chance it might not happen soon… It all comes down to that loan, so we’ll see.”

People in Hanna hope to see a new Hanna grocery store open soon.

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Hanna Grocery Store? — 5 Comments

  1. it would be great to have a store here, the area could easily support one. we will support it if it comes, a general store with a real restaurant is needed here. the problem is that everyone goes to rawlins, we go there ourselves for the dollar tree, the tractor supply, alco, city market and several other stores and our weekly visit to a restaurant. our groceries are the least of our trip. and now more people will be going to rawlins for the new wal mart, although we ourselves will never go to the wal mart. also i remember some people wanted the last grocery here to give them a charge account, the owners could not give credit so some people refused to buy there in protest, and went to laramie even though the wal mart there wusnt giving credit either. it will take a lot of money and time from the owners, and the support of the people in the area for a store to survive here.

  2. I would love having a store here in Hanna,i know alot of people would.I am always in need of something,My Husband works in Rawlins and is always having to stop at the store.good luck i hope you can open one

  3. I live in Medicine Bow and I can tell you there are elderly people who would come here and shop. I’ve heard alot of them say that they don’t like driving to Laramie or Rawlins because it is just to far.
    Also the gas sistuation. Less to drive 20 miles and back as to drive 57 miles or 60. I know if you get a store I will shop here and so would alot of other folks from Medicine Bow and the surrounding area.

  4. I have family who lives in Hanna, once lived there myself. It would be nice to see a store there again, going in the store as a kid, with fully stocked shelves, going to the store just to get a pop. It might help the town out a lot. But you will want to look into, what if the store isn’t successful and you will have all that money to repay, what about your family. I’m sure you’ve thought about this. But by the looks of the town now, how long Hanna has been without a store. People are use to already stocking up on their needs. My suggestion, something smaller. like try reopening the Kum & Go. Stock up and sell what normally people run out of. Or people crave since they can’t just run to town for something small. Like Nachos, pop, candy. Because damn it sometimes I just want a snickers and a pop 🙂 if anything I with your family the best and hope you are successful in whatever you choose to do.

  5. Hope you are able to get approval soon. The town of Hanna needs a store ASAP. Growing up there I understand the need for a store me and my family fully support you!!

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