Four months ago, La Sonorense, a Mexican corner store and bakery in San Jose, was a typical store in the low-income Alma neighborhood. Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar energy drinks packed refrigerator shelves. Gatorade and sodas of all colors painted the store walls.
Now, green labels that read: “Good. To Go. Fun. Fast. Fresh.” point the way towards rows of V8 vegetable juice, bottled water and almond milk. The store’s owner, Consuelo Guevara, now offers a whole-wheat clone of a popular sugar pastry called “la concha.”The green labels are just one component of Good. To Go.’s marketing campaign, a new program administered and funded by Santa Clara County’s Health Trust, an organization advocating healthier living throughout Santa Clara County and North San Benito County.The Health Trust’s work is organized under three initiatives: healthy eating, healthy living and healthy aging. The Good. To Go. program — part of the Healthy Eating Initiative — aims to increase access to healthy food and beverages in low-income neighborhoods.La Sonorense is one of 21 corner stores in Santa Clara County that has gotten a Good. To Go. makeover since the first renovated store opened in September. By 2016, the Health Trust — which has so far invested close to $1 million in the effort — hopes to transform 40 corner stores in Santa Clara County, promote mobile street vendors who sell fresh uncut produce, and increase the amount of farmer’s markets and urban gardens in San Jose.