Reed’s Food Center

Location: Arnold, NE
Grant: $49,352
Loan Guarantee: $98,704
Technology: Energy Efficiency


When rising energy costs threatened to put Reed’s Food Center out of business, owner John Reed began to explore options for energy efficiency upgrades. What began as a plan to upgrade the freezers became a much bigger project, including efficiency upgrades to all the case exteriors and the refrigeration compressor.

Reed said that discovering a state tax incentive and the federal REAP grant opportunity made him decide to pursue more extensive upgrades. The project received a $49,352 grant and $98,704 loan guarantee from REAP in 2010.

After installing the new energy efficiency equipment, the store’s energy use decreased by 55-60%, lowering Reed’s energy bills by up to $20,000 annually. Reed estimates that they also saw a 10-20% uptick in sales because the modern upgrades attracted customers. Reed believes that the REAP grant and state tax incentive made it possible for him to keep his prices competitive and stay in business.

Reed and his wife have called the City of Arnold home since 1979, when they first opened Reed’s Food Center. He said part of his motivation to pursue the project was to give his neighbors a nice place to shop with good variety and to keep local dollars in Arnold.

For others considering similar projects, Reed offers encouragement and says nearby store owners who have seen the results at his store have chosen to upgrade. “It’s the small operators that are the engine of this country,” he said. “Don’t be scared, just do it,” he said. “[REAP] is money well spent. Look at all the benefits — it’ll more than pay for itself.”