7-Eleven, Circle K, am-pm…these are some of the large convenience store chains that operate in our communities yet are often perceived as “inaccessible” to those of us working in healthy retail. But there are also smaller, regional and locally owned chains that might be overlooked as a partner for your program. Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth’s (LCHAY) healthy retail program is gaining traction with one regional chain in in Eugene, Oregon. We invited Kayla Schott-Bresler of LCHAY to tell their story and share some tips on how to work with chains and their “starter kit” brimming with facts and figures to help persuade management to implement selling healthier foods. If you want to share your healthy corner store tips, let us know at info (at) healthycornerstoers.org.
Here at Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY) in Eugene, Oregon we have the unique opportunity of working with a regional chain of convenience stores, Dari Mart, on a healthy corner stores project. Though working with a chain is atypical for most corner store programs, chains are especially sensitive to market trends and have significantly more resources than single store owners. By leveraging these opportunities, advocates can implement low-cost and far-reaching healthy corner stores projects.
LCHAY, Dari Mart, and our project partners have been busy since the start of our initiative in November 2010. Since June 2011, one of our Dari Mart pilot sites has featured a weekly organic produce stand in its parking lot. Neighborhood residents line up every Wednesday at 3pm to buy some of McKenzie River Farm’s goodies. In-store changes are also underway with the addition of a reach-in cooler for healthy products at the point of purchase and a wooden basket display for in-store produce. Shelf talkers and signage in the works!
Dari Mart is the long-standing retail arm of Lochmead Dairy, one of our local dairies here in Lane County. A family business dedicated to its community, it was a natural partner for LCHAY’s project. Though not all chains may be as community-minded as Dari Mart, partnering with a chain may still be possible in your community! If you are considering partnering with a chain, use this Why Work With Chains? Tipsheet to aid your nonprofit or agency in making its decision and the “starter kit” (below) to get you prepared for your first meeting with chain management.
Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY)
LCHAY is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to preventing childhood obesity and related diseases. LCHAY’s Healthy Corner Stores initiative is generously funded by grants from the Northwest Health Foundation and Spirit Mountain Community Fund.
Healthy Corner Stores Chain Partnership Starter Kit