Results from older healthy corner store initiatives are
encouraging. The Food Trust reported that the Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Initiative, the first of its
kind in the nation, resulted in a 6. 3 percent decline in
the obesity rate among inner city children.
Successful healthy corner store initiatives are built on
three pillars: persuading store owners to participate
in the program; providing them with the equipment
they need to handle fresh produce; and teaching residents of targeted neighborhoods how to prepare healthy
meals. Healthy Retail SF also works with store owners
to improve their ability to run a successful business.
Healthy Retail SF has set a goal of reducing the amount
of space occupied by alcohol products to not more
than 20 percent. Multani said alcohol takes up about
40 percent of the space in his store, but he will reduce
that to 20 percent over time.
“We’re not telling the owners ‘Hey you need to stop
selling tobacco, you need to stop selling alcohol,’” said
Jorge Rivas, program manager for Healthy Retail SF.
Added Ryan Thayer, who works with the diverse residents of the Tenderloin for Healthy Retail SF, “Our
theory is that over time by increasing the healthy
products, there’s going to be less demand for alcohol
Thayer and Jessica Estrada work with a group of neighborhood residents they call “food justice leaders.”
Those residents promote healthy food to their neighbors, encourage them to attend nutrition classes and
demonstrations and provide community feedback to
“When we do outreach, we have to do it in seven different languages usually,” Thayer said.
The Tenderloin is a tasty stew of ethnicities, including
Chinese, Filipinos, Mexicans, Hondurans, Vietnamese, Yemenis, Russians, African Americans and others.
Diversity means corner stores must respond to the
tastes of their customers. Bok choy goes over big in
one store; collard greens in another.
Promoting development of supermarkets in many urban neighborhoods
that lack them is a primary goal of the healthy food movement.
(Left) Store owner Satwinder
“Bill” Multani with his wife and
staff during the Daldas Grocery
Grand Re-Opening event in
May 2015 in San Francisco’s
Photos courtesy of Tenderloin