Local grocery store running business on the honor system

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The honor system is making a comeback, and it's happening at a metro grocery store. The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and trusts you'll pay for what you take. Howard's Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch is at the corner of 20th and Campbell Streets.

The owner Craig Howard uses a key and code to get in.

"I worried for about a day and then I was too busy to worry," Howard said.

Howard opened the membership grocery store, the first of its kind in the area, about a year and a half ago. Sixty bucks a year gets you a membership and access to the store, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The model is based on low overhead and keeping some of the costs out of the way of what drives prices up and getting more money to the person who's growing the food," he said.

All food is local and organically grown, including meat, vegetables, even ice cream. Shoppers pay using the honor system. Howard has never had a problem with stealing.

"I personally meet and visit with everybody that becomes a member, so we know each other," he said.

More than 200 people have access to the store and with help from word of mouth, the number's growing. Howard hopes to eventually expand and open more membership grocery stores in the area.

"The business model isn't made for me to become rich off it. I just want to have a regular middle class income," Howard said.

Howard's Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch has an open house every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, click on this link.

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