What We Do: In Corner Stores

Working with students and communities to teach healthy snacking and improve fresh food access

The Issue

In communities that lack supermarkets, families depend on corner stores for food purchases. The choices at these stores are often limited to packaged food and very little, if any, fresh produce. Corner stores are also frequent destinations for children, many of whom stop daily on the way to and from school for snacks. A study published in Pediatrics found that the average Philadelphia student purchases more than 350 calories on each visit to the corner store – and 42 percent of them shop at corner stores twice a day, five days a week, consuming almost a pound worth of additional calories each week.

The Food Trust Solution

In 2004, The Food Trust piloted the Healthy Corner Store Initiative to motivate youth and adults to purchase healthier items through classroom education and direct marketing in the corner stores.

The initiative has grown dramatically since 2010 in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Get Healthy Philly initiative, with additional support from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Representative Dwight Evans, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation and the Jefferson Center for Urban Health.

The Healthy Corner Store Initiative works to increase the availability and awareness of healthy foods in corner stores in Philadelphia through a multifaceted approach including:

  • Increasing store capacity to sell and market healthy items in order to improve healthy options in communities
  • Training and offering technical assistance to store owners to provide the skills to make healthy changes profitable
  • Marketing healthy messages to youth and adults to encourage healthy eating choices
  • Hosting in-store community nutrition education lessons
  • Educating youth in schools near targeted corner stores to reinforce healthy messages and provide nutrition education through the Snackin’ Fresh program
  • Linking corner store owners to community partners, local farmers and fresh food suppliers to create and sustain healthy corner stores.
  • Offering free blood pressure checks and referrals by a Jefferson University health care provider to customers in select corners stores enrolled in the Heart Smarts program. These stores also receive in-store nutrition education lessons which include cooking demonstrations and free taste tests.

In partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Health's Get Healthy Philly initiative, The Food Trust implements the Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store Network in more than 600 corner stores. The Food Trust has expanded the Healthy Corner Store Initiative throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and has consulted with communities across the country to provide technical assistance and training to support similar healthy corner store programs.

The Food Trust also founded and convenes the National Healthy Corner Store Network.

The video below highlights the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a partnership of The Food Trust, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. Focusing on the impact of the Initiative in Camden and Trenton, the video aims to educate key stakeholders about the need for New Jersey to pass legislation to support this program in the Garden State.


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Healthy Corner Store Initiative Overview 

The Healthy Corner Store Initiative is a successful model for increasing the availability of healthy food in corner stores by identifying a continuum of readiness for store changes. The program builds relationships with store owners and asks them to make gradual changes with support and training. With this assistance, store owners are willing to sell healthy products and believe these changes can be sustainable and profitable.

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Heart Smarts: Partnering With Corner Stores to Improve Community Health

With the growth of healthy corner store initiatives across the country, combined with increased interest from health care institutions to provide neighborhood-based preventive health services, the Heart Smarts model can link primary care to public health with a focus on the community.

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Supporting Healthy Corner Store Development in New Jersey: A Report of the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Task Force

Working to increase healthier food options throughout the retail spectrum—from grocery stores to corner stores—will have a robust impact on the food access landscape throughout New Jersey.

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Healthy Corner Store Initiative, 2013-2014

In partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Get Healthy Philly, The Food Trust has grown the Healthy Corner Store Initiative from a small pilot program to a citywide network, introducing an array of programs to provide training, technical assistance and infrastructure change to increase healthy food inventory and provide consumer education in corner stores. 

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Healthier Corner Stores: Positive Impacts, Profitable Changes

Corner stores — often thought of as a source of unhealthy foods — can be key partners in the effort to improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Evaluation by The Food Trust and Econsult Corporation has shown that the corner stores in Philadelphia that have introduced healthier produce to store shelves have resulted in healthier choices, healthier businesses and healthier communities.

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Healthy Corner Store Initiative Sell Healthy Guide

This guide will help corner store owners learn how to sell healthy foods, increase sales and attract more customers.

It offers ideas that can help improve:
Healthy product selection
Marketing, pricing and display
Equipment and refrigeration

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Philadelphia's Healthy Corner Stores, 2010-2012

This report reviews the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, a successful model for increasing the availability of healthy food in corner stores. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative builds relationships with store owners and asks them to make gradual changes with support and training. With this assistance, store owners are willing to sell healthy products and believe these changes can be sustainable and profitable.


For more information about the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, please contact .

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