Chouteau Grocery Store Closes, Causing Ripple Effect In Town
Beverly Cantrell - February 13, 2022 9:23 pm
CHOUTEAU, Oklahoma – OKC News 6
People in Chouteau now have a tougher time getting groceries, since the only grocery store in town closed last month.
It’s inconvenient, especially for Chouteau’s large Amish population, since they don’t own cars.
More growth is expected in town, so many have said another grocery store is desperately needed.
When people in the town of Chouteau heard Harps was buying a grocery store, they were excited.
Instead, they closed the doors, leaving the town without a grocery store for the first time.
At a bustling bakery nestled in the heart of Chouteau, fresh baked bread is loaded on shelves.
Valentine’s day treats are set out to spread the love and soft cinnamon rolls turn golden in the oven.
However, a block down US 69– everything is quiet at a once busy store.
“We’ve always, always had a grocery store here,” said Amber Rice, the town clerk.
Chouteau Mayor Brenda Cunningham said Harps Foods told her Chouteau can’t support a grocery store.
“We soon found out they had indeed purchased the grocery store and decided not to reopen it,” said Mayor Brenda Cunningham.
It’s not just inconvenient. It will likely have a ripple effect.
“Municipalities run off of sales tax,” Rice said. “To lose tax hurts funding for the police department, fire department, and infrastructure.”
It’s going to be tough for people who now have limited access to groceries.
Chouteau has Oklahoma’s largest Amish population. It would be hard for them to go up Highway 69 to the Walmart in Pryor.
“[They use a] tractor, or I’ve seen horse and buggies in the town of Chouteau,” said Nettie Plank.
Plank was raised Amish and owns Nettie Ann’s bakery.
“As a business owner, there were many times we would run down the road get a staple,” she said.
Mayor Cunningham said Chouteau is expecting a lot of growth.
Electric Car company Canoo is set to bring 2000 jobs to Pryor. That’s just the start of what’s coming to the area.
“We have elderly, single parents, I shop at the grocery store. We need a grocery store,” Cunningham said.
The mayor said she would love for anybody who wants to put a grocery store in her town to reach out to her.
The Mayor said Harps still owns the store and is waiting to see what happens with the town’s expected growth.