St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project
Founded in 2011, the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project worked to add healthy options to the food available at small corner stores and markets in the city, primarily in neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets or other sources of affordable, healthy and culturally-appropriate food. The project, a joint effort of University of Missouri Extension, the City of St. Louis Department of Health and St. Louis Development Corporation, engaged local store owners, community residents and organizations in a set of strategies to increase healthy and fresh food options in St. Louis neighborhoods.
To read more about the success of the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project, click here.
Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy
Based on the success of the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project, University of Missouri Extension developed a statewide healthy retail program called Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy. In partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, University of Missouri Extension launched Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy, a comprehensive multi-component, community-based initiative that allows communities to improve access to healthy, affordable foods by working with urban and rural small food retailers.
Key components of SHSH are partnership development, community engagement, marketing, store changes and the addition of healthy inventory, along with consumer nutrition education in the store and surrounding community. Through toolkits, resources and webinars, Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy guides any community, rural and urban, through a unique approach to increasing access to healthy foods that involves engaging small food retailers and community members, thus addresses supply and demand at the same time.
Currently, ten rural and urban communities across the state of Missouri are implementing Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy in over twenty stores. The program continues to expand each year with support from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy is a research- and evidence-based approach to increasing access to healthy, affordable foods in any community. What does the research say?
Increased access to healthy foods
Many households that are most at risk for diet-related diseases have less access to large supermarkets. Increasing the availability and affordability of healthy foods within small food retailers is needed to serve those most in need. 1
By offering more healthy inventory, local small food retailers attract more customers and support the local economy. Money spent at a locally owned business contributes more to the local economy compared to money spent at a national chain. 2
Selling healthy food can be profitable for store owners, within profit margins ranging from 25% to over 100% of pre-cut fruits and vegetables.3
In-store changes and nutrition education
In a corner store impact study, a rise in consumer knowledge about nutrition was found to be associated with increased sales of fruits and vegetables. Improved placement of healthy items resulted in increased sales of those products.4
To learn how your community can increase access to healthy foods by working with a small food retailer, visit the Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy website. Here, you will be able to download the Community and Retailer Toolkits, as well as assessment tools, surveys, point-of-decision prompts and more.
For more information
Program Director, Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy
Program Manager, Stock Healthy Shop Healthy
- Martin, K., Havens, E., Boyle, K., et al. If you stock it will they buy it? Healthy food availability and customer purchasing behavior within corner stores in Hartford, CT. Public Health Nutrition. 2012;15(19):1973-8.
- Patel, A., and Martin, G. Going Local. Quantifying the Economic Impacts of Buying from Locally Owned Businesses in Portland, Maine. Maine Center for Economic Policy. Accessed 3/5/15 from http://www.mecep.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/MECEP_Report_-_Buying_Local-12-5-2011.pdf
- Hagan, E., and Rubin, V. Economic and Community Development Outcomes of Healthy Food Retail. Commission for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research Program (2013). Accessed 2/5/15 from http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/reports/2013/rwjf406490.
- Glanz, K. and Yaroch, A. Strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable intake in grocery stores and communities: policy, pricing and environmental change. Preventative Medicine 2004;39(S2):75-80.
- One way that impact is measured in participating stores is by taking a measurement of healthy food inventory at the start of the project, at six months, and one year into the project. Early evaluation shows that participating stores have increased the percentage of healthy food inventory by as much as 25 percent. This far exceeds the Project goal of a 5% increase per store.
- Each participating stores receives 8 taste-tests where customers may sample one of 25 recipes developed for the project.
- Over 400 customers have sampled healthy recipes made with ingredients found in most corner stores.
- Over 80 adults, and nearly 40 youth, have participated in an MU Extension nutrition education class as part of the project.
- Nearly 230 community surveys have been collected throughout the city.
- Community partners have organized a variety of events to promote their participating store including: cooking demonstrations at neighborhood events, nutrition education classes for youth and adults, a community health fair, a teen cooking competition, and a healthy eating poster design contest, with the winning posters hung on the storefront.
Participating Stores & Neighborhoods
The St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project works with stores and community partners throughout the city of St. Louis. Stop by one of our participating stores!
- Shaw Market (formerly called Regal Food III, 4200 Shaw Ave., Shaw neighborhood) & the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association
- Regal Meat Market (5791 Thekla Ave., Walnut Park East neighborhood) & Walbridge Elementary Community Education Full Service School
- Manchester Market (4519 Manchester Ave., Forest Park Southeast neighborhood) & the Forest Park Southeast Healthy Neighborhood Store Team
- El Torito & LaCarniceria (2753 Cherokee St. & 2800 Cherokee St., Benton Park West neighborhood) & the Benton Park West Neighborhood Association
- B&B Supermarket (954 Goodfellow, West End neighborhood) & the West End Healthy Neighborhood Store Team
- Express Market (3016 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., JeffVanderLou neighborhood) & Community Renewal & Development, Inc.
- New Carrie’s Corner Market (4500 Athlone, O’Fallon Park neighborhood) & YouthBuild (coming soon)
For more information
Pat Curtis, City of St. Louis Department of Health, CurtisP@stlouiscity.com
Kara Lubischer, University of Missouri Extension, LubischerK@missouri.edu
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