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Healthy Corner Stores

Corner stores, also known as convenience stores, may be the only food retailer in some rural areas. They are typically small, independent stores that carry limited supplies of common household items such as bread, cereal, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. Increasing the amount of fresh, healthy food sold at these businesses increases the accessibility of healthy food in those areas. Building new grocery stores can also increase access to healthy foods but may be cost-prohibitive. This model increases access to healthy foods using existing businesses and markets. Helping small food retailers stock more fruits and vegetables can increase the purchase of fresh produce by consumers.

Studies have shown that low-income areas have more corner stores than higher-income areas, and many are located within a mile of schools.

Implementation Considerations

Healthy Corner Store Programs can include:

  • Incentives such as funding, equipment, and community-wide recognition
  • Education components for consumers on how to prepare and eat produce
  • Marketing to increase awareness of fresh products
  • Training and technical assistance for store owners and employees
  • Assistance to help stores accept SNAP and WIC

Grants and other funding initiatives from the federal and state governments are available to assist financially with this model. This model requires strong connections with community members and leaders, knowledge about food safety and handling, and awareness of culturally appropriate foods to stock.

Healthy corner stores may consider putting succession plans in place to transfer ownership of a property or business to someone else before retirement or death. This is especially important in rural areas with older populations. In relation to the food system, succession plans can help preserve farmland, keep food production local, and keep grocery stores open. These are all important aspects of food access in rural areas. Losing food retailers or producers can affect food accessibility for the whole area. Having a plan in place for what happens with a property or business can protect not only individuals from legal battles over rights but also the community from losing important parts of the local food system.

Resources to Learn More

Green Light Foods
Website
Mobile application to help consumers obtain nutritional information about food products before purchasing. Includes a bar code scanner and easy to understand nutritional profiles.
Organization(s): Phipps Conservatory, Botanical Gardens

Healthy Corner Store Initiative | Overview
Document
Explains the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, and provides guidance for stores wishing to participate.
Organization(s): Get Healthy Philly, The Food Trust, Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Network, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 2014