Many residents often shop at corner stores within walking distance from their home, worksite, or school for meals to feed themselves and their families; however, most corner stores stock a disproportionately high amount of processed convenience foods compared to fresher, healthier options. In a 2012 survey of regular Minneapolis corner store customers, 94% said they would buy fruits and vegetables at their neighborhood corner store if they were made available and affordable to them.
In 2012, the Health Department teamed up with corner store owners in Minneapolis to improve access to fresh produce and healthier foods such as low-fat dairy and whole grains. Store owners learned important skills for buying and handling produce, and colorful signs helped customers choose healthier food options.
Specifically, the Health Department and its partners focused on:
- Increasing healthy food inventory: Providing customized support for 10 Minneapolis corner stores to help them increase their healthy food inventory, including fresh produce, healthy beverages and low-sodium offerings. These stores will become "model" healthy stores for the community.
- Purchasing and displaying healthy foods: Offering free healthy food merchandising packages to store owners to improve fresh produce displays, and facilitating connections to local produce distributors and farmers to procure affordable healthy foods.
- Supporting participants: Maintaining relationships and lending informal support to the 40+ stores enrolled in the Healthy Corner Store Program.
- Fostering community collaboration: Encouraging residents, community organizations or youth groups to "Adopt-a-Shop" by offering a helping hand to make changes and show local store owners their desire for increased access to healthy foods.
- Changing City food policy: Developing and implementing revisions to the Minneapolis staple foods ordinance to increase the amount, variety, and quality of basic healthy food items available in licensed grocery stores.
Original Project Sites
In 2012, the corner stores listed below participated in the Healthy Corner Store program. They displayed colorful signs in front windows and inside the store to advertise their displays of fresh produce and other healthy foods.
- Jimmy's Foods - 1121 12th Ave N
- K's Dollar and Grocery - 1021 W Broadway Ave
- Zaad's Foods - 1510 W Broadway Ave
- Penn Gas Stop - 2606 Penn Ave N
- Fremont Market - 3558 Fremont Ave N
- Northside Food Market - 3559 Lyndale Ave N
- Minnesota Halal - 1926 Chicago Ave
- Midwest Halal - 2000 Portland Ave S
- Amigo One Stop - 3159 Chicago Ave
- Super Plaza Halal in the Cedar Riverside Towers - 1525 4th St S
Progress and accomplishments
- In 2013, stores that participated in the program increased their percentage of produce sales by 155%
- Store owners reported throwing away less produce each week due to spoilage and having more demand from customers to continue stocking healthy foods once they were part of the program.
- The Minneapolis Health Department worked with local produce distributors and growers to develop a sustainable system of procurement for store owners.
- In 2015, the Staple Food Ordinance went into effect as one result of the Healthy Corner Store program.
- Healthy Eating Research - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Minnesota