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Grainfield, KS : Community News

June 22, 2009 - Hays Daily News

GRAINFIELD - Dan Godek estimates he sees about 500 people walk between the wheat stained-glass windows of his store each day.

Not 500 different people, but it's 500 all the same.

"There's people that stop in six or seven times a day," Godek said. "It's a nice convenience that we're close by, that we have the basic essentials they need."

For the town of about 285, Harvest Market is the morning and afternoon coffee shop, a lunch stop and the traditional grocery store.

So Godek's slogan, "The community comes together ... at Harvest," seems to fit.

"It's tough to compete with the Wal-Marts of the world," Godek said. "But I'm very impressed with the locals and how much they've supported me."

Godek and his wife, Nicole, purchased the store in 2008, renamed it Harvest Market and turned it into one of the busiest places in town.

Godek remains the only employee, with Nicole coming in to help when needed, and his mother-in-law stopping in on Tuesdays to help stock the shelves.

Otherwise, he's a one-man band. He works the register. He slices meats and cheeses. He makes doughnuts on Saturday mornings. He orders inventory.

"You just try to get it done in between customers and a lot before hours and after hours," Godek said.

Before moving here last year, Godek was employed in sales and inventory management in Greeley, Colo. The leap to being an owner of a grocery store wasn't a long one, but he has been learning along the way.

"Forecasting seasons, what to put in stock, forecasting for holidays were my biggest challenges," Godek said. "I kind of learned those on the fly. I ran out of things at Christmas and at Easter and kind of learned from that."

He also takes suggestions for inventory from his customers and tries to add something new each week.

"Cookies, for example, it's nice to see something new every once in a while," Godek said.

Since purchasing the store, Godek has installed energy-efficient coolers and has plans for new freezers as well. Nicole Godek, also the owner of the design agency StirStick Studio, is in the process of designing reusable grocery bags for the store.

The new coolers have allowed Godek to expand his produce selection.

"It's good to see families eating fruits and vegetables because that's important," Godek said. "I do sell a lot of coffee and doughnuts, but I'd rather sell peaches and lettuce."

Since moving back to his wife's hometown, Godek has found it much easier to get involved in the community.

Harvest Market sponsored and Godek organized Cruise, Shoes and BBQs earlier this year, and the store also sponsors the Harvest Pie Festival on Labor Day weekend.

"With these events that we're putting on, we're just trying to bring a little life back to Grainfield," Godek said.

Although Godek never imagined he would be operating a grocery store in his lifetime, he said he enjoys what he does.

"I just really enjoy making (the customers) smile," he said. "I try to turn their day around if they're having a bad one."

And even though he is the only employee at Harvest Market, he has help in keeping it one of the cleanest and tidiest stores around."It's cute to see ladies shopping, and they'll pull an item from the back or they'll straighten the items after they shop," Godek said.

"One lady commented, 'It's not just my store, it's everybody's store.' They're all proud of it, too."

By Associated Press
4:02 AM CDT, June 3, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A new study of Kansans' health puts Gove County first and Wyandotte last among the state's 105 counties.

The rankings are the first by the Kansas Health Institute, which looked at more than two dozen indicators. They ranged from seat belt use and binge drinking to social and economic factors such as poverty.

Rounding out the top five after Gove County in northwest Kansas were Sheridan, Johnson, Greeley and Logan counties.

In addition to Wyandotte County, the bottom five included Woodson, Geary, Labette and Montgomery counties.

The Kansas Health Institute says it expects to have periodic updates on the Kansas County Health Rankings.