In the past several months, the small grocery stores in Estancia and Mountainair closed—and a crowdfunding push is now underway to re-open Mountainair’s B Street Market.
To stock a grocery store will cost $100,000—and that’s the fundraising goal set by Nancy McCloud, and artist and entrepreneur who said that although she has never owned a grocery store, she has owned her own business all her life.
“I’ll have plenty of help, to include the two previous owners of the store,” McCloud said, adding that she has a degree in nutrition.
“When the store closed, I started researching how to get it back open,” McCloud said, explaining that because of the way the store closed, it looks like a risky investment to federal and state agencies even though it had been there for 40 years. “The best deal I could get is an 18 percent loan,” she said.
McCloud’s vision for the store is that it would carry “the regular things that everyone wants” along with organic and local produce. “I’m working really hard to get good produce, better meat, a varied product line,” she said. She also wants to include a “food product section” that would feature meals cooked onsite for sale, like a deli: “My way to deal with the waste that industry standard says is 20 percent.”
That would consist of some fresh meals and some frozen to make the food last longer. McCloud intends those offerings to be “not expensive meals” but nutritious.
She plans to offer classes on how to cook healthy on a budget, or how to cook for diabetes. Other plans include tables and chairs and a library with food magazines and nutrition books.
So far about 50 people have raised $34,000, McCloud said, adding that there are 8,000 to 10,000 people in the larger area served by the grocery store, including Estancia, Willard, Vaughn and the area around Mountainair. “If everybody would donate a little bit, we could open next week,” she said.
Those donating will recoup their donation in groceries, she said. “If somebody donates 100 dollars, they’ll get 120 in groceries over six months,” she explained.
Reopening the B Street Market is not just a business venture for McCloud. “It’s a social cause that’s important,” she said. “The rural grocery stores all across America are vanishing. The people who can least afford the food are who it’s the most expensive for.”
McCloud is hoping to get some USDA funding that is being funneled through electric cooperatives. “The cooperative can loan it to something they feel is important in their state.”
For McCloud, a trip to the grocery store now means 47 miles one way to Belen, or 90 miles into Albuquerque. “It’s pretty crazy,” she said. “There are people in Mountainair who don’t have cars, who don’t have the ability to go to Walmart.”
McCloud’s business background includes a horse training and rehab facility in Virginia, and she said she has trained horses for the past 24 years. She also has a custom leather business.
“It’s almost like this has become a calling for me,” she said, adding, “I want to take a stand and say don’t let the box stores take over. We have a Family Dollar here and I’m not going to sell any paper or cleaning products—there’s no way to compete with them. We’ll just focus on food, good food.”
She started to study nutrition because the leather business “is not challenging me anymore,” and said she wants to “give something back to people, and do something to try and help people. Here I am trying to open a grocery store.”
And the major offering of the store will be “real food that people used to eat—that our grandparents used to eat,” she said. “It’s only been two generations since people had their own gardens and made their own food. I think that’s important. The less distance the food has to travel, the fresher it is, and the longer it lasts in the refrigerator.”
McCloud is expecting the store to create six to eight jobs.
To find out more about her crowdfunding efforts, contact McCloud at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-847-1123.