Nonprofit starts push for healthy options at corner stores

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Veronica T. Avendaño
El Observador

Emit Mini Mart is the first in a 21-store network to receive a healthy makeover courtesy of, The Health Trust, a non-profit dedicated to promoting health in the Silicon Valley.

Emit Mini Mart kicked off the nonprofit’s, ‘Good to Go’ campaign with a launch party this past Wednesday, September 17, inviting the community to view how the store’s layout transformed from aisles of sugary snacks to aisles of produce and healthy snacks.

Executive Director of the California Small Business Development Center, Dennis King, Carmina Rivera owner of Emit’s Mini Mart, Frederick J. Ferrer CEO of the Health Trust, District 2 Supervisor Cindy Chavez, and Health Trust Board Members Roberta Robins and Charles C. Bullock, PhD. Photo courtesy: The Health Trust.

Executive Director of the California Small Business Development Center, Dennis King, Carmina Rivera owner of Emit’s Mini Mart, Frederick J. Ferrer CEO of the Health Trust, District 2 Supervisor Cindy Chavez, and Health Trust Board Members Roberta Robins and Charles C. Bullock, PhD. Photo courtesy: The Health Trust.

“Today was our launch event for our first major conversion store at Emit’s Mini Mart. We’ve been working with her for several months in introducing fruits vegetables, grab and go snacks,” said Emma Gonzalez, program manager for the Health Trust. Gonzalez said the store owner, Carmina Rivera has already seen a sales increase by offering healthier options through her participation in the program.

The ‘Good to Go’ campaign is set to convert six more stores by the end of this week. Stores that participate in the campaign receive training, marketing materials, and other equipment in exchange for placing an emphasis on produce and healthier food products. Store owners must also agree to sell healthy snacks on a “grab and go” mode.

“The Good to Go campaign is really trying to address the issue of having no access to healthy food in low income communities,” Frederick Ferrer, Health Trust’s CEO.  “We know that in a low income community folks shop at their corner store 5 times more than they do at a grocery store. So if that’s the case what do they get when they go to a corner store,pretty much unhealthy food.”

The Good to Go campaign is really trying to address the issue of having no access to healthy food in low income communities

The campaign’s goal is to change consumer eating habits by making healthier food products more widely available. Aside from converted local corner markets and convenience stores to be more health centered, the campaign will also deploy mobile vendors with produce carts.`Mobile vendors in return receive brand and marketing tools to help grow their outreach. Through the campaign’s initiatives, consumers will have easier access to healthier food choices and receive quality produce at reasonable prices .

The Health Trust’s mission is to advocate for a healthier Silicon Valley through its three initiatives: healthy living, healthy eating, and healthy aging. The ‘Good to Go’ campaign is sponsored by Google, USDA Community Food Project Grant, the Packard Foundation and the city of San Jose. By November of this year, the campaign will transform 17 more stores.