KINGMAN - Residents of Golden Valley seeking a grocery store have been getting some assistance from a larger, more powerful source.
Bennett Bratley, director of the Mohave County Economic Development Department, met last week with about 30 residents to instruct them on how to present their need to local and national retailers. Bratley said the county is committed to helping them guide, plan and market the community to potential prospects, as well as lead them through the process after a retailer is located.
The MCED currently provides information about Golden Valley at goldenvalleyaz.org. Bratley said he is looking into grants for communities that are considered "food deserts" because affordable and healthy food is difficult to obtain there. But the biggest enticement is the area's demographics, which show the growing number of people who pass through and live in Golden Valley and the surrounding area.
"Golden Valley doesn't have a Chamber of Commerce or even a website, so I want to get the information out about it and show retailers that the area is bigger than they think it is," said Bratley. "This meeting is a step in the right direction of making people more aware of the area and helping me market it to them in a positive way."
Residents have been trying to snag a grocery store for the region for several years, including gathering signed petitions and presenting them to local retailers. Currently, the Golden Valley area has several convenience stores but no grocery stores.
Residents must drive 11 to 25 miles one way to shop in Kingman or Bullhead City, the closest alternatives, and frozen food often thaws on the trips home.
Golden Valley had a mom-and-pop grocery store named Ranch Market in the late 1970s and early 1980s with two locations, but they closed after the big grocery stores opened in Kingman and the economy soured. Marian Friedline, who has lived in Golden Valley for seven years, said she would be thrilled to see any grocery store move into the area and provide more variety of food.
"I think it's very important to get a grocery store in Golden Valley," said Friedline. "We're wasting our resources to get the basic things we need. We're on limited incomes and we're frugal, but we're willing to spend our money on food. I spend about $350 a month on groceries, but it's costing a lot of gas to do that. I'd much rather spend that money on food."
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