Economic leaders try to bring grocery store back to tiny North Dakota town


DRAYTON, N.D. — Plans to bring a new grocery store to Drayton, North Dakota, may be prompting some deja vu.

After J&D’s Riverside Market in Drayton closed at the end of November 2022, the Drayton Economic Development Corp. bought the building with plans to renovate it and rent it to a new grocery store.

Pete Anderson, a member of the economic development board and president of KodaBank, said having a grocery store is imperative for the town of 757 in Pembina County in far northeast North Dakota.

“A grocery store is a lot like a school — if you don’t have a school, you don’t have a town,” Anderson said.

It’s not the first time the development corporation has stepped in to try to save a local necessity in Drayton. In 2012, the economic development arm of the city completed a similar project to draw a restaurant back to Drayton. After the town’s only restaurant closed in fall 2011, the city purchased a building, renovated it and rented it to a restaurant.

That building is also home to a clinic, fitness center, Valley News and Views newspaper, drugstore and other businesses.

“City economic development owns that building and leases it back to the tenants at reasonable rates to attract businesses,” he said. “This will be the same thing — it’s just a different building.”