PINE RIDGE, SOUTH DAKOTA — One of the major challenges facing rural communities is food security, and it is very apparent on local reservations.
To fill a need in Pine Ridge, Buche Foods established a grocery store in town. Being a relatively isolated community, the store provided options for fresh, healthy food for locals, without the need to travel out of town or to Rapid City.
“We have brought in a wholesale that has a substantially larger variety, and so our customers will see that in both meat and the produce, dairy, grocery section,” said president R.F. Buche. “All aspects of the store, they’re gonna see a lot more variety.”
Following it’s success in Pine Ridge, the market will be expanding and opening a new location in Sisseton on the Lake Traverse Reservation.
“We got a call from the tribal attorney that I dealt with at Pine Ridge,” said Buche. “I got a call from him about a year or two ago, and asked us if we’d be interested in looking at Sisseton, and I told him that I would certainly look at it.”
In Pine Ridge and other locations, Buche Foods took ownership of other food markets, but that change hasn’t affected employees. Along with the value it brings to local patrons, the Buche Foods has also provided jobs to those living in the community, a practice not new to the company.
“We hired all of the employees and made them Buche Team members as of the ninth,” said Buche. “We hired them at their old pay, we rolled over their benefits and their years of service, just like they were with Buche Foods the whole time.”
Buche foods has locations in Gregory, Mission, Oacoma, Pine Ridge, Sisseton, and Wagner, and is excited to expand into smaller communities.