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Raine’s Offers Eureka Variety Along ‘Loneliest Road In America’

Raine's Market

Scott Raine loves a challenge. And running the only grocery store in Eureka, Nevada, provides plenty of them.

Raine owns and operates Raine’s Market along with his mother, Lee, and his wife, Silvia. Scott and Silvia’s sons – Steel, Sabre, Storm and Strider – also work at the store. 

The “greater metropolitan area” of Eureka has a population of about 1,400 people, Raine said, while Eureka County’s population is about 3,000. The town itself boasted a population of just over 400 in the 2020 Census. 

Scott and Silvia Raine
Scott and Silvia Raine

Not only is Raine’s Market the only grocery store in the historic mining town, it also is the closest one for several surrounding communities. 

The business has grown since his parents, Robert F. and Lee Raine, bought the small downtown grocery store in 1973. They expanded in 1979 to about 5,000 square feet and, in 2016, Raine said they moved to a new location about a mile from downtown on Highway 50, “The Loneliest Road in America.” It is about 30,000 square feet. 

Raine said he grew up in Eureka but left for several years before returning in 1998, when he began working full time at the store.

While still operating solely as a grocery store, Raine said people were constantly coming in asking for certain items. 

“I always hated saying ‘no.’ So, what do you do? You add as much as you possibly can, and then you’ve got to expand.”

He said they went from two parking spaces in front of the downtown store to 109 at the new location. The downtown building had construction from four different eras, with the oldest part dating back to 1885.

“It was old construction and hard to deal with the limited parking. It was made for the horse-and-buggy era.”

The business today includes a full-line grocery store, deli, ACE hardware and a selection of IFA farm and ranch products. Raine’s Market also fills small propane bottles on site and offers U-Haul rentals. Last year, a gas station was installed, large enough to accommodate tractor-trailers. 

“The other gas station that exists downtown, it was actually a stable before it was a gas station. It’s not built for [semis]. They’ve got to block at least one lane of traffic on the main highway [to get fuel].

“You build it, and they will come. There was a movie about that. But we did, and they did.” 

Seeing a need and meeting it for his community is something Raine excels at. 

“Every time I find something, we add it because people want it,” he said. “None of them are big. None of them would necessarily sustain themselves by themselves, but together you can make things work.”

Raine’s Market is known for its variety in both grocery and hardware. Raine said it’s rare for shoppers to come in for an item they can’t find.

“There are very few items that you’d find in another supermarket that you couldn’t find here. I might not carry five brands of the same thing, but I’ve got that item,” he said. “And in hardware, we’ve just expanded into a tremendous variety of items so that people don’t have to leave [town].”

And leaving town is no small matter.

The closest larger city is Elko, population about 20,600, and it is 120 miles away. Raine said Eureka is somewhat in the middle of a triangle between Reno, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. The closest major metropolitan city, Reno, is about 250 miles from Eureka, with the other two 300-plus miles away.

“You don’t want to have to travel those distances to get stuff. We always used to, but that’s why we built this variety here,” he said.

Raine’s Market attracts regular customers from smaller towns in the region.

“They’re coming from truly small communities. You think Eureka is small, but then you’ve got some of these places and they’re like, ‘Hey, buddy, there’s 32 of us. So we’re coming to the big city of Eureka.’”

Steel and Sabre Raine
Steel and Sabre Raine

Raine said the supermarket fared well during the COVID-19 pandemic. While there was some trouble getting supplies, he found ways to find what his customers needed. For items he couldn’t get through their regular suppliers, he went searching elsewhere.

“I stocked it ridiculously, crazily deep in here. Some of my suppliers thought I was crazy. I’m ordering half truckloads of paper goods before everybody else did. We didn’t run out.”

While supply issues have improved, labor remains a challenge. Eureka is a mining community, with mining jobs offering high pay. However, the working conditions and sporadic nature of the business make it tough for employees to be there long term, Raine explained. 

“But that makes it hard to deal with … There’s not a big labor force out there. So yeah, we constantly have problems. You deal with it. You’d better know every part of the business because you’re going to be doing that job this week. I’d better know how to cut meat … I’d better learn about plumbing.”

As owners of the only grocery and hardware stores in Eureka, the Raine family is deeply involved in the community. In addition to providing food and other necessities for residents, Raine also gives back as a volunteer firefighter. He joined the department when he was in college, coming home in the summers to work at the store. After returning to Eureka full-time, he has continued to help his community by responding to fire and rescue calls.

As part of its Heartware Stories, ACE Hardware featured Raine in a video representing the state of Nevada.

“They did a profile on at least one store in every state … They labeled it ‘The Volunteer.’” See the video at youtu.be/Erfm1aoj4ig.

Helping people is what Raine enjoys most about being an independent grocer.

“Every day is different … You’re always helping people. You’re trying to find solutions for problems. People always show up because they’re looking for something, for a solution – ‘I need fuel, I need food, I need this product.’ People always need stuff. 

“And it’s a challenge to find what that is as needs change over time and with different people. Mining comes and mining goes; there’s quite a bit of ranching out here. And farmers, and their needs, are all different. It’s a challenge to figure out what they want.”

He said it’s a great opportunity and enjoys knowing most of the people in town.

As an independent grocer, Raine believes in doing the best in areas where he can succeed. While some retailers may complain about competition from online sales, his response is to “sell stuff you can’t get online.”

“Don’t get in the ring with Michael Tyson. Get over here and find something that you can do well … They can’t ship bags of bird seed in an economical fashion. They can’t help somebody with their plumbing problems. 

“We’re getting milk that’s been out of the dairy less than 24 hours. Go compete with that online. Best of luck … Don’t fight the fight that’s impossible to win. Your customers are looking for something different. You’ve got to figure out what it is.”

Raine has found success in selling what his customers want. If he can’t find that one place, he looks somewhere else.

“Somebody out there sells it. Figure it out. That’s a challenge, and that’s one of the fun reasons to show up for work. What am I going to figure out today?”

Read more market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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