Sunday, April 5, 2009

Visiting Crabby Patty

This is Crabby Patty. Patty Hafenstein. She really doesn't seem so Crabby. That comes at the end of the 16-hour days. When we were there yesterday we had to wait awhile for all the locals to go through the checkout line. That was terrific -- and made her smile, too.

This is Crabby Patty's, the Dexter Mini-Mart at the corner of K-15 and the city of Dexter in Cowley County. It's a one-pump store -- that is when there is gas. Patty has to pay at least $2,000 for the fuel truck to even come her way. The 12 cent per gallon mark-up pays for all the other costs associated with the pump and the paperwork. Maybe, maybe the Winfield Co-op will take over the gas pump operation. She's losing money on the gas pumps now. I hope the co-op deal works.

The inventory is relatively scant. She has to go to Sam's to buy grocery inventory. She'd rather not but she has explored all other options. A separate bread truck, chip truck, and beer truck come. One of the few profit producers is the Hunts Brothers Pizza.

Maybe she could fix the floor and ceiling tile if the out-dated refrigeration utility costs weren't so astronomical. The outdated ones are not energy efficient at all. The Dexter Economic Development Committee has located some people to come visit with Patty ways to reduce the utility costs.

The "lots of little money" that comes from the Kansas Explorers Club campaign to get one thousand people to go to Crabby Patty's to spend $5 helps her spirits and allows her to buy groceries and gas a little sooner for the locals. To date, over 200 people have come by to spend an extra $5 or sent something in the mail.

She gets money in the mail, too, with notes. She can tell when an envelope is from one of the Thousand and she tears it open to read the notes. The notes melt her heart. Bring a tear to her eye. She says, "It's really nice to know that people care so much."

Crabby Patty's address is 501 K-15 Hwy., Dexter, KS 67038.

The mini-mart is a functional business in Dexter that supplies staples of gas, a few groceries, and pizza. It doesn't look all that pretty inside but please don't judge. There are so very many things going on behind the scenes that we can't see. Patty is trying, she cares about providing Dexter with this business, and she works really hard.

Our $5 makes more of a difference to her than you might imagine. We're doing this till we hit 1,000 people. We Kan do it. If you go in to Crabby Patty's you'll get an "I Kan Help" button.

The following is from Linda Geffert:

May I echo your closing sentiments in the Explorer Update of April 3rd, "You're the Best, Kansas Explorers."

I was one of the owners of Lizard Lips during the first campaign several years ago. Having Kansas Explorers respond to the call of 'spend five dollars' was one of the most cherished memories I have of being part of that business.

The money was certainly appreciated but in addition to that, we received encouragement, made new friends and soaked up the positive, energetic vibes exuded by Kansas Explorers. They are always happy and up-beat and never quibble over price because they know rural businesses can't get volume discounts.

Best to Crabby Patty.

Linda Geffert, KE #61

Wanting to help is to "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner


Kevin McGinty said...

The seperate bread truck Patty spoke of, well, that's where I come in.

That's what I do. I've been a breadman for the last thirty years now. I started out working for Rainbo Bread in Greensburg back in 1979. My route back then covered Greensburg, Haviland, Coldwater, Protection, Ashland, Bucklin, and Mullinville.
Today I'm what they call a specialist. My job is to cover routes in case someone is on vacation, hurt, or whatever. For the most part, I cover the entire state of Kansas. I haven't been to Patty's place (yet) but have been to many of the places you've talked about in your blog and have enjoyed visiting each and every one of them.

It's sad to say this, but a lot of places like Patty's just don't make it in today's world.

Someone within my company decided I should also cover western Nebraska as well. So that's where I've been for the last five weeks. And I can tell you right now, it's pretty much the same story here in rural Nebraska. There are probably several places I'm delivering bread to today that won't be around five years from now.

But I do primise that if and when my travels take anywhere close to Dexter, I'll be one of your thousand people to stop by. Besides,there's nothing I like better than a couple slices of Hunt brother's Pizza and a soda for lunch.

Good luck Patty...

Jenni said...

I'm so glad you are writing about this. I have complained in the past about the cost of groceries and gas in our small town. We're relatively new here, and I never realized the reasons for the higher costs until I started reading your posts here and looking around on Now I try to get most of my gas here, even if it costs a little more, and although most of my grocery shopping still has to be done in Wichita, I try to do some at the little Jack and Jill in town, too.

I had only recently found your site when I attended last year's KATP field school. The school in Courtland was used as the headquarters, and during the week I got to meet and talk with some of the locals. I was amazed by how hard the community worked to keep things going with such small numbers. There's no grocery store in Courtland, but the gas station owners do what they can to keep some grocery items stocked. They go in on an order with a grocery store in a nearby town and then go pick everything up from that store themselves. I doubt they're making much (if any) profit on their grocery items even if the price is higher than Walmart. It's so inspiring to see these people who love their communities and are willing to work so hard to keep them alive. Dexter isn't far from me, and it's one of the map dots I've been meaning to check out. I think I'll make a trip to Crabby Patty's this week.

WenDee KE#36 said...

I loved your comments Jenni. It's nice to know we're making a difference and educating the public about what it takes to keep a small business alive in rural America! Thank you for making a trip to Crabby Patty's! ~ WenDee LaPlant

Tamara Heitschmidt said...

I just sent a letter and check to Crabby Patty. $5.00 is something that is easy to do, and I was glad to do it - but I've learned that the efforts, thought and time it takes to send the check and not is more valuable that the actual money.
Hopefully she knows that Me, My husband, my kids believe in her, her store and what she represents to small town Kansans.

Get Kansas! said...

T, Patty has told me many times it is the notes that keep her going. Thanks so much for taking time to do this.

Unknown said...

I feel ya Patty. And you're not alone - here in Connecticut I could sure benefit from 1000 people coming in to spend 5 bucks... maybe the more affluent of our patrons would appreciate buying us a new floor or a new door lock or a mop sink or more efficient refrigeration units - ahhh one can dream! This economy sucks for small businesses - Good luck to you lady!