Citizens’ shopping investment make small towns work
It would probably be safe to say there is not a Kansas city De Soto's size not completely surrounded by urban development without a grocery store. Yet that is the position De Soto finds itself with the closing last week of Morses' Market.
Worse, there is no indication the situation will soon change. By all accounts, larger grocery stores apparently aren't interested in De Soto until it doubles in population and many of those interested in opening a smaller market will probably see the experience of the Morses as cautionary, especially with more supermarkets opening eight to 12 miles down the road.
As many have observed, the store's closing will be hardest on seniors who can't or don't feel comfortable driving on busy Kansas Highway 10 to stores in Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee or Eudora. While not all will share in that hardship, the closing is going to be a real inconvenience to nearly all. As one woman told us last week, "I can't believe I'm going to have to drive to Shawnee when I need a sack of flour."
The popular refrain in De Soto, and one that is repeated multiple times nearly every time the city's planning commission considers any development proposal, is that many in the community moved here for the small-town environment. That should mean more than sending children to smaller schools where they can take part in more activities or getting away from the traffic, noise and stress that are a way of life in more urban communities. Preserving that small town means investing in its economic lifeblood and, by so doing, ensuring the community remains to viable to all its residents.
All of that is to say the common admonishment to "shop locally" means something and that investing shopping dollars locally does as much for the community's quality of life as paying taxes for a new swimming pool. That is a lesson to contemplate as residents find themselves driving eight to 10 miles to the nearest store after discovering that one item needed to complete a recipe wasn't in the cupboard.