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A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Scott's Hometown Foods of Lindsborg

By Austin Anderson

As businesses around town begin to close for the day and citizens head home after a long day at work, Scott's Hometown Foods in Lindsborg, Kan., becomes a hotspot for the people of this small Swedish town.

Scott and Susan Achenbach purchased the former Lee's Thriftway and opened Scott's in 1994. The locally owned and operated store provides groceries for the nearly 3,500 citizens of Lindsborg and those in the surrounding area.

Every day, citizens of Lindsborg venture into Scott's to stock up their pantries and freezers, but shopping isn't a chore in this community. Friends and relatives cross paths in the aisles and catch up on the latest news.

"Stopping at Scott's on my way home from work is very convenient," customer Sonja Marston said.  "It's nice to be able to get my week's groceries and stop to chat with people I know all at once."

Along with providing groceries to the area, the store also offers job opportunities to the high school and college-aged students of the community. After school is out for the day, many students put on their aprons and get to work in the aisles, at the deli and at the cash registers of the store.

"I really enjoy working with the high school and college-aged students," assistant manager Ben Coffey said. "They are very eager to learn and take on new tasks but they are still able to bring energy and humor to the workplace."

Many may wonder how the store is able to stay competitive with a Wal-Mart 15 minutes to the north and another 15 minutes to the south. While inevitably some customers get their groceries in neighboring towns because of job locations and convenience, the community has stood behind the store. Also, online sales of Swedish foods have skyrocketed.

"Swedish foods are a big part of our income," Achenbach said. "We have orders coming in from all over the country. Our website and the ability to order off of it has really helped this aspect of our store grow. You have to find something that is special to your store, find a niche and go after it."

Tourists flock to Lindsborg in June for Mid-Summers Day and every other October for Hyllningsfest to take part in the Swedish traditions and learn more about the heritage. Many of them stop at Scott's on their way out of town to stock up on lingonberries, pickled herring and potato sausage. Other Swedish items offered on the stores website include Bond Ost Cheese, Swedish Pancake mix and King Oscar Coffee.

While the store remains competitive, it also faces its challenges.

"It's sometimes hard to compete with the bigger stores in the neighboring towns because many of the people who live in Lindsborg work in either McPherson or Salina and can stop at a larger grocery store on their way home from work," Achenbach said.

As local grocery stores continue to go out of business, Scott's Hometown Foods has managed to stay one step ahead of the rest with the family atmosphere and by embracing the heritage of the community.

"When I work I get to catch up with people I usually wouldn't see otherwise," Hannah Carlson, cashier, said. "I love all of the social interaction with my classmates, co-workers and the customers. It is just a very friendly environment to work in."

For more information on ordering Swedish foods and the other services provided by Scott's Hometown Foods visit www.scottshometownfoods.com