A small town in the US state of Kansas is a letter of credit (L/C) away from having its own grocery store for the first time in 17 years.

Residents of Plains have been working since 2008 on a scheme for a community-owned store, but the L/C they needed to back the financing of its construction was withdrawn when the bank that was to provide the L/C merged with another bank.

Community action

With a population of just 1,109 people, the residents of Plains have had to drive either 14 miles to Meade or 25 miles to Liberal to buy groceries.

In 2008, a group of concerned citizens started working on plans to re-establish a grocery store in the town and in 2010 the Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains was formed to pursue those plans.

L/C backing

Financing the new store, which should open in 2019, was an interest free US$850,000 loan from the US Department of Agriculture.

The loan required L/C backing from a bank, which the foundation duly secured from a local bank, but when it merged with another bank, this backing was withdrawn.

Replacement L/C

According to the foundation's president, Jeanne Roberts, the bank anticipates securing a replacement L/C by the end of October.

Construction of the store is expected to take six-months.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.