Grocery Stores Anchor South Dakota Communities
When considering the bigger cities in South Dakota, such as Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Yankton, or even Rapid City, food accessibility may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, in smaller towns like Lake Andes, Mission, or Pine Ridge, the situation is quite different. South Dakota has a unique grocer named R.F. Buche who stands out from the rest.
The President of GF Buche Company since 2000 is RF Buche, who comes from a family with a long history of grocery business. The company was founded by RF's great-grandfather in 1905 in Lake Andes, SD. As a 4th generation grocer, RF has developed a true passion for the industry from a young age. In fact, according to Buche's Website, he recalls sneaking out of the house during blizzard-like conditions at the tender age of four just to be at the store with his dad. RF has been involved in every level of the store ever since and remains dedicated to the business.
Buche's stores have expanded to numerous communities, providing more than just groceries. The convenience stores, known as Gus Stops, are named after the founder Gus Buche and are situated in Lake Andes, Mission, Wagner, and White River, with Buche's Gus Stop located in Wanblee. Additionally, there is one pay-at-the-pump location in Mission named Gus Stop Express. Buche Auto Parts is situated in Pine Ridge, along with Buche Hardware. Martin is home to Buche's Hardware and Lumber, both of which are branded as Ace Hardware. Furthermore, there is a Subway located in Gregory and a Taco John's in Mission.
It's crucial to ensure that food reaches all the communities in need. Additionally, involving local individuals in managing and operating these stores highlights the significance of "Buche Businesses" to their respective communities.
RF Buche is a devoted supporter of rural grocers and has actively lobbied on Capitol Hill to level the playing field for small, independent grocers. However, RF acknowledges that this is a challenging endeavor.
“Right now 69 percent of the market share is controlled by four grocers,”
Recently, due to his advocacy work and his company's dedication to their small South Dakota communities, he was awarded the Spirit of America Award, a special recognition from the National Grocers Association.
“It means a great deal to me,” Buche said. “We do care about our communities, all independents do.”
Thank you for sharing this story with your friends, families,
and neighbors and if you have a local business owner or owner of many businesses like RF Buche, we would love to hear from you. Oh, and don't forget to pick up a loaf of bread, and a gallon of milk on the way home from work tonight.