Bringing Fresh Produce to San Jose

Meet Jesus Santillan, owner of Laredo Market

The Food Trust's 25th anniversary spotlight, picture of jesus santillan, owner of Laredo Market

25 years, 25 stories

Jesus Santillan worked in the grocery business for 14 years before buying Laredo Market, a corner store on West Alma Avenue in San Jose, in mid-2015. “Owning your own business is not easy,” says Jesus, so he is grateful for the support of The Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative.

The initiative, which works in communities from coast to coast, works with corner store owners to stock and sell healthier foods—a benefit for communities and for businesses, which often see increased sales and reduced food waste. “[The Healthy Corner Store Initiative] has really great ideas about helping the community and bringing in good products,” says Jesus.

Laredo Market was chosen as one of San Jose’s flagship corner stores, allowing The Food Trust and its partner, The Health Trust, to install a new energy-efficient 20-foot cooler. The new equipment will save Jesus money and allow him to offer a great variety of fruits and vegetables, including squash, a frequent customer request. “It gave me the opportunity to bring in new products that I couldn't bring in before,” Jesus says.

In addition to bringing in hundreds of healthy products, Jesus has created an impact beyond his own store – mentoring other store owners, teaching program staff and attending trade shows to learn more about healthy food accessibility.

With this knowledge, Jesus has also posted Healthy Corner Store Initiative signs throughout his store. The signs promote the new products and help his customers make healthier choices, like whole-grain breads or lower-calorie snacks. In the afternoon, when parents come with their children for an after-school treat, fruit salad is one of the bestsellers, Jesus says proudly. Healthy foods are good for the community—and good for business.

Jesus Santillan is one of hundreds of corner store owners involved in The Food Trust's Healthy Corner Store Initiative

25th anniversary logo color

This interview is part of our weekly "25 Years, 25 Stories" series, spotlighting some of The Food Trust's diverse voices in healthy food access. If you would like to support our work, click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.

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