Grocery Survey

Greene County gains insight on impact of food desert.

In 2019, the Carrollton IGA, in Greene County, closed. Two years later, Kroger grocery closed stores in Carrollton and White Hall, leaving only one grocery store in the eastern side of Greene County. Illinois Extension established a Greene County Grocery Taskforce bringing together local leaders and partners like the Greene County Health Department to better understand how residents were adjusting.

Jennifer Russell, Extension Educator, surveyed people living in Greene County learning more about their grocery product needs. More than 500 responses were received, and the results were shared with the public and businesses looking to offer grocery services to the region. According to the survey, 50% of respondents were greatly impacted by the store closures but were adjusting, and 33% were struggling to find alternatives. Many who were struggling were without convenient access to transportation. According to Jennifer Russell, a small grocery store, Market on Main, opened in downtown Carrollton in November of 2021 improving food access there. In Roodhouse, a meat distributor expanded its services but closed in 2022 due to the death of the owner. The taskforce continued to work to attract additional grocery offerings to the county. In 2022 the old Kroger grocery stores in both Carrollton and White Hall opened as updated Dollar General stores carrying additional fresh produce and meat offerings. The Market on Main grocery store sold to new owners in 2023 following the retirement of the previous owners. The store continues to expand their specialty items to include wings during the Super Bowl, biscuits and gravy on Saturday mornings, freshly prepared salads for lunch and fruit trays for special orders.

If your community is dealing with grocery store closures, consider conducting a survey of the market area. The Grocery Survey Sample Questions help you better understand the public’s needs and concerns while providing valuable information to potential new food businesses. The survey is concise but includes an open comments box asking for additional thoughts about the closing of, or need for, grocery stores in the county. This question provided valuable information and insights for local planning efforts.

Should you decide to use the grocery questionnaire or questions from the sample questionnaire, Jennifer recommends asking respondents to estimate the time, distance and cost of shopping outside the community.

Watch a short video on the community planning process and the Greene County Grocery Survey. 

Learn more about how Extension can help your community.