HANOVER–Hanover is labeled the best village by a dam site, but in reality, it is located in a desert, a food desert.
Lorri Zinn has created an oasis in the food desert with the opening of Lorri’s General Store at 105 Jefferson St., Hanover’s first grocery store since 2010. Zinn’s store opened its doors on Saturday, June 30, but Zinn said the store and stock is still growing.
“We have more stuff coming in,” said Zinn. “It’s a work in progress.”
The United States Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as locations without access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. In rural areas, a community must be more than 10 miles away from a grocery store to be considered in a food desert, criteria Hanover meets.
Zinn also noted that the average age in Hanover is 55, and that the village’s aging and elderly population will benefit from a local grocery store. According to the United States Census Bureau, Jo Daviess County’s median age is on the rise. Since the 2010 census, the median age has risen from 46.6 to 48.2 in 2016.
Hanover residents are limited in options when it comes to household essentials, with the closest grocery stores in Galena and Savanna. Zinn said she does not like having to travel for groceries and is excited to open the store.
“This is a huge deal for Hanover,” said Zinn. “There are a lot of people in Hanover who can’t get to where they need to go.”
Zinn has a vision for her store. She said she plans to add a deli and a local delivery service. Zinn also said she wants to partner with local businesses to sell their products in her store.
Originally from Dubuque, Iowa, Zinn has achieved success in the city’s Millwork district. She said she felt “accomplished” in her career and moved to Hanover with the intention of relaxing and taking some time off, but the plan changed with the opening of the store.
Zinn has already made a number of improvements to the property, including razing outbuildings and remodeling the front entrance. Zinn said she changed the front steps to more closely resemble the way the building was in the 1970s.
Zinn said the store’s opening was well-attended.
“The support from the city and townspeople has been amazing,” said Zinn.
The store is for the community, said Zinn, and that she and the community will support each other.
“We’re in this together, as one,” said Zinn.