#340. He’s Still At It

Posted on | The Agurban

He’s Still At It!

Last week we told you about the Bulldog Express, a grocery store ran by high school business students in Leeton, Missouri. This week we want to update you on one of the first young grocery entrepreneurs we learned about back in 2006, Nick Graham.

Nick lived in Truman, MN with his grandmother. When the town’s only grocery store closed during the summer of 2006, just before Nick’s senior year of high school, he recognized what a loss the closing would have on the town. So, at age 17, Nick bought the store with his life savings of $10,000 and a $25,000 loan from the local city council, a gutsy move on the council’s part. The store reopened it in October 2006. By July 2008, the store was profitable. Nick was offered a good price for the business and sold it.

Not only was Nick Graham running the grocery store in Truman, he was servicing about 14 customers as a wholesale distributor and generating $100,000 per week in gross sales.

Nick worked for several months for a couple other companies after he sold the Truman store, but couldn’t resist the appeal of a business adventure. After hearing about a near bankrupt grocery store in Rolfe, IA, Nick drove an hour south of Truman to check it out. He purchased that store, and once again, was in the grocery store business.

Next came an investment in a combined grocery store and café in Pomeroy, IA in late 2009. The café that attaches to the grocery has been a great asset to Pomeroy’s sense of community, serving as a gathering place for local residents.

Why are these small town grocery stores so successful? According to Nick, “We emphasize personal service to keep residents shopping in our stores. We call people by their first name. We deliver groceries. We do whatever somebody wants us to do to make our customers happy.”

In addition to the stores in Rolfe and Pomeroy, Nick also owns stores in Fontanelle and Huxley, IA.

We love the Nick Graham story! Not only is he a millennial entrepreneur, he is providing a valuable service to small rural towns. We would like to learn more about other “Nick Graham’s” out there. Please share your stories about your local millennial entrepreneurs.