Bison Food Store

When the previous owners of Bison Food Store (originally called “Jack & Jill”) decided they were ready to retire, the community of Bison, SD faced the grim prospect of losing the only grocery store within 50 miles. As they began their search for new management or a buyer, town leaders reached out to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s Lori Frederick. She connected Bison Area Economic Development with staff at the West River Business Service Center to get an analysis of the store’s financials.

A local buyer, Chad Barnes, stepped forward to purchase Bison Food Store. The West River Revolving Loan Fund assisted with financing the purchase. Also, Chad used the West River Business Service Center’s expertise to better understand the financials and receive advice on his business plan.


Since purchasing the store, “it’s just been full steam ahead,” says Chad. He has replaced the floors, put in new coolers and freezers, and has more renovations planned. “I absolutely love investing in the community,” he says. Chad’s 10-year-old daughter helps him stock the shelves on the weekend and is “ecstatic that she is Vice President of Bison Foods,” he laughs.

Maggie Ostendorf, Bison Area Economic Development Coordinator, says “anything you need, Chad will order it.”  From fruit and veggie trays for prom to the pig roast and BBQ for Bison’s Gala Days, June 20-23, Bison Food Store is a vital resource.  Maggie says, “It’s huge to have a grocery store. It’s the lifeblood of the community. We’re a small town and close-knit. You go in for two things, and you’re there for two hours!” Reflecting about the process, GOED’s Lori Frederick says, “People didn’t give up. This is a great story of a small community coming together. The local, regional, and state partnerships really worked well.”