St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project

The St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project works 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 food. The project engages local store owners, community residents and organizations in a set of strategies to increase healthy and fresh food options in St. Louis neighborhoods.

Need for healthy food options

For many St. Louis area residents, buying healthy foods is as simple as driving a short distance or walking a few blocks to the neighborhood grocery store.  For others, especially those in low-income communities, accessing a food retailer with healthful food choices is not so easy.  Without grocery stores nearby, residents are dependent on corner stores, gas stations or convenience stores that lack fresh fruits and vegetables and stock primarily high-priced, high-processed foods, a situation that contributes to the obesity epidemic and other health disparities.  Although a variety of corner stores are conveniently located in St. Louis neighborhoods, many lack produce, low-fat dairy, and whole grain products. 

Nominations are accepted from neighborhood-based nonprofits, neighborhood associations, schools, churches, and community leaders.  The nomination process requires the identification of both a neighborhood store and a leadership group in the community.

To learn more about the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project:

For further information, or if you're interested in nominating a store, contact:

Kara Lubischer
University of Missouri Extension
(314) 516-6392
lubischerk@missouri.edu

Measuring Success

  • 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. 

St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project in the News

Bringing Nutritious, Affordable Foods to Underserved Communities:
A Snapshot of Healthy Corner Store Initiatives in the U.S.” – National League of Cities, Sustainable Cities Institute (February 2014) http://www.sustainablecitiesinstitute.org/Documents/SCI/Report_Guide/ResearchBrief_HealthyCornerStoresSCI_Final1.pdf

 

“Incentives for Change: Rewarding Healthy Improvements to Small Food Stores” – ChangeLab Solutions (February 2014) http://changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/Incentives-for-Change-Small-Food-Stores_FINAL_20140131_2.pdf

“St. Louis Plans Coordinated Approach to Fighting Obesity” – St. Louis Public Radio (February 2, 2014) http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-plans-coordinated-approach-fighting-obesity

“Add Healthy Choices and Neighborhood Store Gets Marketing Help” – St. Louis Post-Dispatch (November 15, 2012) http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/add-healthy-choices-and-neighborhood-stores-get-marketing-help/article_39abfb28-b279-550f-9fd8-fc1bd30aa0e8.html

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)

Map (PDF)

Partners

Funding for this project was provided in part by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Missouri Foundation for Health.  The Missouri Foundation for Health is a philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve the health of the people in the communities it serves.  Additional assistance provided by CDBG funding, through the St. Louis Development Corporation and the Community Development Agency.   In partnership with communities and corner store owners, the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project delivers a comprehensive approach that combines community development, small business support, nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, nutritious food. 

What does it mean to be a Healthy Corner Store?

If selected to participate in the project, corner store owners/managers agree to sell healthy foods and create a healthy store environment. The following are criteria to participate in the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project:

  1. Regularly stock (some, not all are required):
    • Fruits and vegetables (fresh, canned and frozen)
    • Low-fat dairy
    • Whole-grain and shelf-stable products (i.e., cereal, crackers, rice)
    • Healthy beverages (i.e., 100% fruit juice, water)
    • Healthy snacks (i.e., pretzels, granola bars)
  2. Already accept or apply to accept food stamps/EBT
  3. Mark prices on healthy foods and beverages
  4. Display promotional materials provided by the HCS Project
  5. Keep food fresh and food displays clean 

 

What benefits and resources does a Healthy Corner Store receive?

  • The store operator will receive the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Resource Guide full of tips on food safety, food handling and storage.
  • A mentor, who has grocery retail experience, will be paired with each store owner. The mentor will provide support in store layout, merchandising, pricing and promotion.
  • Publicity and promotion within the neighborhood as a participating Healthy Corner Store
  • Healthy Corner Store display items (i.e., baskets, signs, etc.)
  • Access to business development resources

What benefits and resources are available for Community and Youth Leadership Teams?

  • Support for neighborhood and youth projects and events that promote the healthy corner store
  • Nutrition education classes
  • Support for community health and wellness activities

Resources

For store owners

St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Resource Guide (PDF)
Selling healthy foods can help a store improve total sales, increase customer loyalty and attract new shoppers. The St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Resource Guide contains useful tools and resources to help store owners achieve their business goals. The resource guide is full of tips and tools for corner store owners on food safety, food storage, pricing, merchandising, and marketing.

Corner Store Participation Guide (PDF)
The St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Participation Guide includes information on program criteria for participation, benefits to store owners, and a general description of how the program works.

National Healthy Corner Store resources

Healthy Corner Stores Network: http://www.healthycornerstores.org
The Healthy Corner Stores Network supports efforts to increase availability and sales of healthy, affordable foods through small-scale stores in underserved communities. The network brings together community members, local government staff, nonprofits, funders and others across the country to share best practices and lessons learned, and to develop effective approaches to common challenges. Network activities include bimonthly webinars, in-person meetings at national conferences, the network's Web site, and a list-serve. The Healthy Corner Stores Network is led by the Community Food Security Coalition, The Food Trust, Public Health Law & Policy, and Urbane Development.

USDA Food Access Research Atlas: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas.aspx  This tool presents a spatial overview of food access indicators such as population density, socioeconomic factors, and proximity to supermarkets.  You can create maps specific to your community that present the food access data using different measures and indicators of supermarket accessibility.

PolicyLink Healthy Food Retailing Tool: http://www.policylink.org/site/c.lkIXLbMNJrE/b.5137405/k.6042/Healthy_Food_Retailing.htm
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. This tool describes inequities in access, what causes them, and how to address them. It includes information on retailing opportunities (including improving existing stores); case studies of healthy food retailing projects; and links to additional websites and resources, including policy reports and recommendations.

For more information

Pat Curtis, City of St. Louis Department of Health, CurtisP@stlouiscity.com

Kara Lubischer, University of Missouri Extension, LubischerK@missouri.edu

Like us on  Find us on Facebook Facebook
Follow us on  Find us on Twitter Twitter