Pine Ridge grocery getting new management after 51 years

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PINE RIDGE, S.D. (KEVN TV) -- For the first time in half a century the grocery store in Pine Ridge Village is poised to get new management.

The Oglala Lakota Sioux tribal council voted last week to bring on a new manager for the Sioux Nation Grocery, the only tribe-owned grocery store on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Cohn Wholesalers based in San Diego has operated the franchise for 51 years.

Slated to take over at the end of the year is Buche Foods based out of Lake Andes.

In 2012 the grocery store was forced to shut down because of health code violations.

Tribal leaders say they will get higher payments from Buche and hope consumers get better service and prices.

"It's a wonderful change," said tribal council member Chancy Wilson. "Not only is the current contract a better price for the tribe as a whole, we're going to make twice as much on rent, as well as I think for the members it's a great move. We're promised price gouging won't happen."

Still unresolved are some logistics.

Cohn owns all the coolers, shelves and cash registers in the Tribe owned store. Buche and Cohn are negotiating the possible sale of those items now.

Also unresolved is the status and future of the hardware store and auto parts store that operate in the Sioux Nation Grocery building.