Over the past two decades the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has worked to make Lakota Thrifty Mart a thriving grocery business.
The tribe is now opening a second store in Dupree, to better serve the west end of the reservation. This is made possible through a Tribal emphasis on economic development, and a Minnesota builder's cost effective design that's been popping up in South Dakota and throughout the Midwest.
Lakota Thrifty mart in Dupree will soon open its doors, and when it does, customers will find a few differences from older grocery stores.
"This section here, this is the only bunker that's going to be an open bunker where any cold air is coming out," said LTM store manager Cindy Marshall.
Produce, dairy, and meat will be kept behind closed doors, enhancing freshness and reducing energy bills. This is just one of the ways Ankeny Builders out of Blue Earth, Minnesota is making long-term operation affordable.
Another money-saver is the use of LED lighting in stores like Dupree and the new 36,000 square foot County Fair Foods under construction in Dell Rapids.
"The energy savings is huge. It's about a third the cost of running the conventional fluorescent tubes through," said County Fair manager Byron Busk.
Ankeny's design is built to weather whatever Mother Nature has in store.
"It'll withstand more than most. It's a good structure," said owner Robert Ankeny, "Structural steel background to it across the roof, the whole envelope is designed for all the different wind loads."
The pre-cast exterior panels cut down on building time.
"These pre-cast panels, they were made in Minnesota. Shipped out, we set the building in two days," said Ankeny.
That means big savings.
"Save a substantial amount of money, cutting a month out of construction on a big project like this," said Ankeny.
And concrete floors cut down on the cost of maintenance.
"When you have floor tile or vinyl tile, you have waxing and buffing and you're spending 50,000 bucks a year trying to maintain a store, where here you can use regular water scrubbing machines," said Ankeny.
All savings that can be passed along to the community.
"The grocery store's a big part of a small community and people are excited here in town," said Busk, "we're going to be able to offer them a whole lot more than our current store. It's going to be very exciting."
The Dupree store is scheduled to open November 7th. The store in Dell Rapids is expected to open during the second week of December.
Ankeny has built grocery stores in several Midwestern states and South Dakota communities like Mitchell, Mission, Aberdeen, Watertown, and Sisseton.
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