By Sam Jack
Owners Brent and Bonita Bradley closed Raider Pride Grocery at the end of 2018 for a simple reason: the store was losing money.
“We had some wonderful customers; just not enough,” Brent Bradley said. “Can’t continue losing money every month.”
Raider Pride Grocery opened on Main Street in October 2017, in two of four buildings that formerly housed R&S Furniture.
The Bradleys already owned Eagle Grocery in Norwich. They thought that opening a second small-town grocery store could help them increase the size of their orders and get better wholesale pricing.
“In a town this size, I don’t need 24 heads of lettuce. I need 12,” Brent Bradley said at the time.
By January 2018, Raider Pride Grocery was in trouble. They wrote on Facebook that “after less than four months, our sales have fallen to a point that is unsustainable. We have had customers actually tell us they were on their way to Walmart to grocery shop.”
The post reached more than 8,000 people, and the store did see a surge in business – but not a sustained or strong enough surge to keep it going.
“There’s some people that it completely breaks our heart to leave, but it takes a community to build a community,” Brent Bradley told the Star-Argosy this week. “The way I put it is, when you spend money at home or away from home, you’re casting a vote, and sometimes people vote against their own town.”
Raider Pride’s former home, which the Bradleys upgraded with flat-panel LED lighting and three-phase power, is now on the market.