Iowa legislation would create reinvestment fund for small grocers


Cynthia Farmer, policy associate,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1034; Jillian Linster, interim policy director,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1018; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate,, 402.687.2100, ext. 1012 

DES MOINES, IOWA – A bill introduced this week in the Iowa Senate seeks to provide resources to small grocery store owners fighting to keep their stores open amidst economic and workforce challenges and competition from big box retailers.

Senate Study Bill (SSB) 3074, introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee, would create the Grocer Reinvestment Fund and establish a grant and loan program to help locally owned grocery stores selling perishable foods invest in their businesses.

Cynthia Farmer, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs, commends the committee for introducing the legislation, which will be discussed during a subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 8:30 a.m.

“Grocery stores are an integral part of the community, providing essential resources as well as economic and social benefits,” Farmer said. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, supply chain issues, and increased online shopping have strained local grocers, especially in rural areas. The Grocer Reinvestment Fund and Program would provide financial support to grocers for cost-saving efforts and business efficiency to ensure long-term sustainability.”

If the bill passes, the Iowa Economic Development Authority will oversee the grant and loan program. Funding will be available to grocery stores that sell canned and frozen food; fresh fruits and vegetables; and fresh meat, fish, and poultry. The business must employ 25 or fewer individuals and plan to create new jobs or increase compensation for existing employees.

Priority consideration will be given to businesses that are located in underserved areas and primarily serve low- or moderate-income communities,  can provide matching funds for at least half of the total project cost, and accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.

“The Grocer Reinvestment Fund and Program would help recipients upgrade their facilities, implement new business practices, promote their business effectively, find alternative product sourcing, and develop their workforce through enhanced training,” Farmer said. “We urge the subcommittee to recommend the advancement of SSB 3074.”