YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — Residents in two neighboring South Dakota cities are rushing to save the only grocery stores in their communities.

Grocer R.F. Buche is closing the CashSmart stores in Tripp and Tyndall on Jan. 31 after a continued decline in sales, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan and Mitchell Daily Republic reported.

"I needed at least 50 percent of the grocery sales volume in each of those communities," said Buche. "That meant twice as much as we were getting."

Buche said the sales volume remained far below that amount.

Since the announcement of the closures, city officials and residents have been working to keep the stores open or to find a way to eventually re-open them. The next nearest supermarket for either city would be more than 10 miles away.

The Tripp Development Corporation is looking at all options for the small community of about 640 residents.

The corporation's secretary, Jennifer Friederich, said the grocery store is the center of the Tripp community.

"We have an older population, and a lot of them can't get out of town," said Friederich.

Ron Wagner, member of the Tyndall Development Corporation, said that Tyndall officials have been unsuccessful in finding a buyer for the local store.

"We went to three different people and tried to work with them (as potential buyers), but they decided against it," said Wagner.

Due to limited options, Tyndall residents are organizing and pulling money together. A group of local investors have created the Tyndall Market LLC for purchasing and re-selling the store.

Wagner said the investment drive isn't intended to be a permanent solution.

"We're not into the business of running the grocery store itself," he said. "We want to keep it open as long as needed before someone else buys and starts it."

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/