Study bags hopes for store

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According to a study conducted by GDI Small Town Markets Consulting, "Opening a grocery store in Magdalena in 2014 is far from a no-fail proposition and it can only succeed with the support of the entire village and the right strategy."

This was the summation of the research presented to the Magdalena Village Board of Trustees at its Monday, May 12 meeting by Marck Frederich and Annette Tixier of GDI.

Since March 2012 when Trail's End Market closed its doors, Magdalena has been without a full service grocery store. In April, 2013, The Village Board approved a USDA-administered Rural Business Enterprise Grant request to study the feasibility of a new grocery store opening in town.

The grant enabled GDI to conduct research to find out if the area could support a privately owned market.

The 18-page report, which is available at Village Hall, included an demographic and economic overview of the Magdalena area, as well as the strengths of existing grocery retailers Family Dollar, T'iis Tsoh Mini-Mart and Conoco Food Mart.

Taking into account available buildings in town – the Trail's End Market building and the former Salome's – the report estimates an initial investment of $200,000 would be required, and another $137,000 for operating expenses for a minimum of six months.

"The biggest obstacle Magdalena has to overcome is the initial financing of that store," the report states. "Where other communities have been able to re-open a decently equipped store, just be finding an operator and filling the store with inventory, Magdalena currently does not have such a ready-to-go store.

"If the start up costs can be met, the Village of Magdalena and surrounding areas will be able to support a fresh grocery market (as described in the study)."

In other business, the Board endorsed Mayor Diego Montoya's list of water conservation tips and guidelines.

"We're still in a long term drought," Montoya said. "We don't want a repeat of last year."

He added responsible water usage tips would be included with residents' utility bills through the spring and summer months.

The mayor stressed that these were not ordinances, but only recommendations:

• Check for leaks inside the home

• Make sure all faucets and shower heads are low flow

• Limit outdoor irrigation to early morning and late evening

• Check outdoor plumbing and fixtures for leaks

• When washing vehicles use a bucket a hose with a shutoff

• Ensure swamp coolers are properly working with no leaks

• Take showers instead of baths, and keep them short

• Turn off faucets while doing tasks instead of running them constantly

• Only run full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher

• Water lawns only twice a week in May; three times a week in June, July and August; back to twice in September and October; and then once a week in November

• Keep your yard beautiful and colorful with low-water and native plants

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Tuesday, May 27 at 6 p.m.