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Rural Champions | Entrepreneurship

Junction City was looking for creative ways for supporting small vendor opportunities into seeking opportunities for creative small business opportunities to begin store front growth for their communities. Through their farmers market vendors, providing small business resources is building entrepreneurship in their community.”

Junction City Main Street

Project Background

Junction City Main Street, situated in a rural area with a significant military spouse population, identified a need for a farmers’ market targeting home-based businesses. Despite initial concerns about supporting two markets and conflicts with a local business owner, the Main Street Market, initiated in March 2022, has been successful. The project is now focused on creating a sustainable future for the market, emphasizing harmony between markets and community support.

Steps to Success

The project team’s goal was to establish the Main Street Market in 2023, featuring both a farmers’ market and a maker’s market in downtown Junction City. With a focus on community engagement, the market aims to support local entrepreneurs, foster downtown revitalization, and address the underdeveloped local food system in Geary County. The project involves collaboration with Junction City Main Street board members, community leaders, local military communities, farmers, youth groups, non-profit organizations, schools, and city-wide events, emphasizing positive relationships and support from local businesses and city departments.


The community-focused solution aimed to provide accessible facilities without transportation or insurance, addressing the gap in necessary services. The project also emphasized flexibility and collaboration within the team, expanding resources from providers and implementing a youth mentoring program to destigmatize mental health in schools, demonstrating resilience in the face of setbacks.

Resources Identified

The project secured financial support from the Rural Champion grant and the Ewing Marion Heartlands Challenge Kauffman Grant, while non-financial partners included various organizations and entities from both local and regional levels. The Implementation Grant will focus on marketing efforts, utilizing funds for print/banner materials, online marketing, signage, and supporting a market manager to enhance community awareness and attendance.

Meet the Rural Champion

Geary County Champion – Autumn McGuffey

The project team is preparing to establish Main Street Market for 2023. There will be two markets within one, a farmers market and a makers market, both of which will be located in the historic district of downtown Junction City.  In addition to the farmers market and makers market, there will be music, entertainment, educational events, themes, and a variety of activities throughout the season. J

Junction City Main Street, located in a heavily rural area, has identified an estimated 160-200 home-based businesses operated by the spouses of active-duty soldier. During January 2022, a focus group interview was conducted with military spouses that operate home-based business operations, and it was suggested that a program designed to assist the informal economy of home-based businesses targeting both military spouses and surrounding rural areas would have a significant impact. By having an organized, structured, well promoted, and consistent Main Street Market at a prominent location in a busy area, as is being planned with Main Street Market, it is expected that the vendors will have the turnout needed for economic success. Serving as the Market Manager, the Rural Champion will be able to fully dedicate her time to Main Street Market and move the market from just another event to a destination downtown event for which people would travel miles to set up as a vendor or attend as a customer. 

Follow and support this project

Key Resources

Partner Organizations
  1. Dane G. Hansen Foundation
  2. Northwest Innovation 
  3. NetWork Kansas
Funding Resources u0026 Grants
  1. NetWork Kansas
Best Practices
  1. “13 Ways to Kill Your Community” book club helped facilitating community conversations