City Launches Healthy Corner Store Collaborative’s Good 2 Go Initiative
NEW ORLEANS —On Friday, Sept. 15, Mayor Landrieu, in partnership with Propeller, Top Box Foods and Liberty’s Kitchen, launched the Healthy Corner Store Collaborative’s Good 2 Go initiative, which leverages existing infrastructure in local corner stores to make fresh, healthy foods more accessible to families in food deserts as well as increase profits for store owners.
“This innovative program is a clear sign of our continued investments in all New Orleans neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The Good 2 Go initiative is helping to bring fresh food access to underserved neighborhoods throughout the city and promoting a better quality of life for all New Orleanians. A healthy New Orleans is a prosperous New Orleans.”
The launch took place at Danny Food Store, one of five corner stores participating in the pilot project. Other participating stores across the city are located in the Lower 9th Ward, Freret, Treme, and Bywater. In the first three months of the initiative, the program has seen notable success with more than 12,000 units of produce delivered, 93 percent of produce inventory sold, and over $5,600 total revenue associated with Healthy Corner Store Collaborative produce across all five stores, city reps said.
The Healthy Corner Store Collaborative’s Good 2 Go initiative seeks to eliminate the perceived lack of customer demand for fresh foods in already underserved areas and change the misconception that carrying fresh fruit and vegetables is not profitable for small retailers, city reps said. Additionally, the pilot program works to enhance economic opportunities for locally-owned and operated corner stores while creating an economic climate for New Orleanians to support local businesses. By connecting corner stores to a larger supply chain like Liberty’s Kitchen, stores are able to carry a smaller and more manageable amount of fresh food inventory, thus decreasing spoilage and increasing the likelihood of profit, city reps said.
“We are thrilled to bring together an amazing team to launch and manage the Healthy Corner Store Collaborative,” said Rebecca Conwell, Mayor Landrieu’s senior advisor for economic development. “The city is committed to ending food deserts and making healthy food access more equitable for everyone. The Healthy Corner Store Collaborative brings Propeller’s business accelerator model to the front door of small business owners and leverages the food expertise of local partners like Top Box Foods and Liberty’s Kitchen and national partners like The Food Trust. Since mid-June our 5 pilot stores have already sold over 3,000 pounds of healthy produce, which has created an average increase in revenue of $1,100 per store.”
The five corner stores were recruited and selected for the pilot program based on pre-established criteria including: capacity to participate, willingness to share financials, proximity to public transportation and percentage of alcohol and tobacco sales. Each store owner receives one-on-one business mentoring with a food retail expert from Propeller and connection to the Liberty’s Kitchen supply chain. Stores will also receive branding, marketing and food display materials to expand fresh food offerings.
The Healthy Corner Store Collaborative builds on the success of the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), which creates equity and access to fresh, healthy foods while growing business for retailers, city reps said. Launched in March 2011, FFRI originally began by awarding low-cost, flexible financing for vendors to open, renovate or expand retail outlets in areas of the city lacking fresh food access. The city awarded FFRI funding to Circle Food Store in the Seventh Ward, The Whole Foods/Refresh Project in Mid-City, Dryades Public Market in Central City, and Robert Fresh Market in the Bywater/Marigny.
Customers can shop for fruits and vegetables delivered fresh weekly at all Good 2 Go corner stores.
Andrea Chen, executive director, Propeller, said "At Propeller, we know local business owners can be powerful agents of change. We're thrilled to have this opportunity to provide corner stores with in-store infrastructure and business mentorship so that they can bring fresh, healthy food to their neighborhoods for years to come."
Sam Heyman, co-founder and director of business development, Top Box Foods-New Orleans, said “At Top Box Foods, we engage and empower community leaders, partners, and volunteers to join together to make healthy affordable food accessible to all. We are thrilled to be working with cross sector organizations to fight food insecurity here in New Orleans by using the collective impact approach. Together, our work shows that the path to a healthier New Orleans starts by offering our neighbors access to fresh and affordable produce.”
Dave Emond, executive director, Liberty’s Kitchen, said “Liberty’s Kitchen provides pathways for New Orleans youth to create and achieve their vision of success, and this project advances our core belief in supporting healthy lifestyles. We are excited by the true spirit of collaboration we have achieved with the City of New Orleans, Propeller, and Top Box Foods to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods where access has historically been limited.”
Brooke Abraha, owner, Danny Food Store, said “I believe convenience stores can be a positive force in the community they serve. As Socrates said ‘let thy food be your medicine and your medicine be thy food.’ Thank you for letting us be part of a thrust in the positive direction of our community.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, said “We must increase access to fresh, healthy foods for our residents that live in food deserts. This is an innovative approach and I hope it can create a win-win for our residents as well as our stores.”