Chicago is losing its supermarkets. Does a small Kansas town have the answer?

Chicago is losing its supermarkets. Does a small Kansas town have the answer?


ERIE, Kan.—As Chicago explores the possibility of becoming the first major city to open a municipally owned grocery store, it will look to places like this town of 1,000 for advice on how to do it.

At the moment, things are not going particularly well. The Erie market, which the city took over in 2021, is losing money almost every month due to fierce competition from a Walmart 15 miles away and a Dollar General on the other side of the street. The store slashed prices, emptied shelves of expired items and installed a salad bar to try to attract more people.

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With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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