Earlier this year, KSFY News brought you along to Eagle Butte, where the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has turned a small grocery store into a thriving community hub.
Now, the Lakota Thrifty Mart brand is expanding to better serve the west end of South Dakota's largest reservation.
"Everybody just can't wait for it to open," said Rhea Smith, who will oversee the floral and produce departments.
The wait is almost over.
Dupree is the seat of Ziebach County - the poorest in the United States. And soon, this little town will have a new source of economic stimulus.
The new Lakota Thrifty Mart will provide 20 jobs. It will also serve as an oasis in one of South Dakota's driest food deserts, where it's not unusual for people to drive a long way for basic groceries.
"Probably 60 to 80 miles," said store manager Cindy Marshall.
"They'll save money on gas and the roads aren't that great either," said Smith.
Rural customers aren't the only ones who will benefit from time and gas saved. Many Eagle Butte LTM employees drive at least 20 miles each way to get to work.
"I'm glad that we have this store here in Dupree. I have a 45 minute drive back and forth - and that's depending if the weather's good. If it's not, it could be anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half," said LTM floor manager Jessica Red Bear Johns.
Marshall says loyal LTM customers will get the same service at the new store they've come to expect in Eagle Butte.
"We're going to be doing our rotisserie chicken. That's a big hit. And a lot of people in the Dupree area asked if we're bringing the rotisserie. Yes, we are," said Marshall.
Plus, there will be some extras. In addition to grocery delivery for elders, Western Union service, WI-Fi and an ATM, the Dupree store will house an instant photo kiosk.
"Pierre and Rapid [City] are the closest for getting pictures. If someone wants it right away we have it," said Marshall.
The staff also brings the passion for customer service necessary to turn this building, full of brand new equipment, and the smell of fresh paint, into a place where people feel at home. Just like they do right now at the Eagle Butte store.
"It's really important that people are welcomed and they feel that they're known. That they just have a place to go. I love our grocery store," said Johns.
"It's about people wanting a place to get together. And the best place to find your friends and neighbors is at the grocery store," said Marshall.
The new Lakota Thrifty Mart opens November 7th, but its big grand opening will coincide with Dupree Pioneer Days next summer.
LTM's plan for expansion doesn't end in Dupree. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe expects to break ground on two Lakota Thrifty Mart Express stores in the communities of Takini and La Plant in 2014.
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