Healthy Corner Stores

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as areas where there is limited access to fresh and healthy food. For those living in food deserts, small retail stores (also known as corner, convenience or neighborhood stores) are often the primary food source. Unfortunately, many neighborhood stores do not offer fresh, frozen or even canned fruit and vegetables. The Cabarrus Healthy Corner Store Network (CHCSN) spanned the full REACH grant period from 2014-2018 and increased the accessibility, availability and visibility of healthy items in Cabarrus County neighborhood stores.

Eligibility Requirements

SNAP/EBT approved stores were eligible to participate and those located in food desserts were given selection priority.

Recruitment

The project coordinator visited eligible stores and shared information about the purpose of the project, past successes, and benefits of participating. The "Nominate your Neighborhood Store" campaign was launched in year two of REACH to encourage community members to participate in store recruitment. Individuals submitted suggestions via the REACH website (below), email or phone.

Owners interested in participating were asked to sign a participation agreement, which formalized the owner’s commitment to increasing the number of healthy items offered.

Data Collection

A store owner interview, environmental assessment and customer surveys were administered before and after the intervention to measure the project’s impact. Data collected before the intervention was used to tailor the initiative to the needs and strengths of each store.

Store Owner Interview: Familiarized the coordinator with the store’s history, business practices as well as customer preferences and demographics.

Environmental Assessment: Determined the number and type of healthy products located in the store. Photographs of the stores’ exterior and interior were taken.

Customer Intercept Surveys: Identified healthy items that customers were interested in purchasing.

Intervention

Wood Retail Consulting provided merchandising and product placement training. Store changes were designed to improve both the store's aesthetic appeal and the visibility of healthy items. Following the training, the program coordinator worked with the store owner to identify healthy items with the best potential to meet customers’ needs and yield a financial profit.

Accomplishments

  • All stores increased the number of healthy items offered.
  • Mi Pais Latino Supermarket’s weekly produce profits have tripled as a result of their participation.
  • Acclaimed local artist Brenda Council painted a healthy community mural at Center City Maxx in downtown Concord to promote the store’s new changes.
  • The Cabarrus Health Alliance's youth advocacy group, "Taking Responsible Actions In Life" hosted a beautification project at Center City Maxx in October 2015.
  • Promotional ads and articles were placed in the Independent Tribune, Hola Noticias, Que Pasa and The Charlotte Observer to increase awareness of the project and highlight the store owners’ efforts.
  • The initiative was highlighted as a NC Alliance for Health Success Story on August 18, 2016.
  • Five Cabarrus County stores received the NC Healthy Food Retail designation in March 2017.
  • Taste testings were held in April 2017 at eight corner store locations through partnership with Cooking Matters, a nationwide campaign that teaches families how to cook on a budget.
  • The first Healthy Corner Store Network Meeting was held on July 19, 2017.

Store Locations

Center City Maxx
500 Cabarrus Ave W
Concord, NC 28025
704-710-0264
SNAP/EBT & WIC
Danny's Place
300 Church St N
Concord, NC 28025
704-788-7900
SNAP/EBT
Mi País Latino Supermarket
898 Concord Pkwy N
Concord, NC 28027
704-784-0035
SNAP/EBT & WIC
Mi Refugio Supermarket
476 Church St N
Concord, NC 28025
704-786-5001
SNAP/EBT & WIC
Sam's Mini Stop
1256 Old Charlotte Rd
Concord, NC 28027
704-786-9996
SNAP/EBT
West A Kwik Mart
1106 W A St
Concord, NC 28027
704-932-2255
SNAP/EBT & WIC
KM Corner Stop
440 Kerr St NW
Concord, NC 28025
704-785-2121
SNAP/EBT & WIC
La Mexicana Grocery
902 S Cannon Blvd
Kannapolis, NC 28027
704-933-0063
SNAP/EBT & WIC
SM Mart
5501 Poplar Tent Rd
Concord, NC 28027
704-788-1929
SNAP/EBT 
Coddle Creek Grocery
11181 Mooresville Rd
Davidson, NC 28036
704-784-3317
SNAP/EBT
O'Dell Grocery
1963 Odell School Rd
Concord, NC 28027
704-793-6399
SNAP/EBT
29 Kwik Mart
603 Concord Pkwy N
Concord, NC 28027
704-784-1019
SNAP/EBT