Washington DC

Asian Shopkeepers And The Economics Of Improving Corner Stores

April 10, 2012 in News, News & Events

DCentric, April 10, 2012.

Newly-elected Washington D.C. councilman Marion Barry recently criticized Asian-owned corner stores in D.C., saying the shops are “dirty.” Later he said they should sell healthier products and improve their stores. The councilman is being criticized for the negative remarks he made about Asian store owners, and the incident has people talking about the sometimes tense relationship between the Asian and black communities in D.C.

This article describes some of the challenges small stores face in selling healthier products, and includes an interview with an Asian store owner who participates in DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners Program. The program–funded with a $300,000 grant from the city–includes the launch of an affordable wholesale delivery service that store owners can use to order healthy foods. The store owner interviewed in the article points out that not all Asian store owners have bad relationships with their customers, and suggests that communication can be difficult not only for “Asian retailers, but pretty much all immigrants in the community…The immigrants have the same issue where there’s a language barrier, and also the cultural differences they haven’t quite grasped. It’s just a process they go through. I don’t know how to close that gap real quickly.” He also suggests that customers ask their local store to carry healthier options or specific products they are interested in.

Food, Environmental, and Economic Development in the District of Columbia Act of 2010 (FEED DC Act)

December 1, 2010 in Reports

Approved in December 2010. The FEED DC Act will expand access to healthy foods in Washington D.C. by improving existing food stores (including corner stores) and attracting new stores to underserved areas. It will also provide support for farmer’s markets and fruit and vegetable vendors. Besides improving access to healthy foods, the Act will also encourage green technology in food stores and promote job creation in areas with high levels of unemployment. The Act will use private and public funds. It outlines plans for a “Healthy Corner Store Program” to assist corner stores by providing grants, loans, tax credits, equipment and other financial and technical assistance on a competitive basis. The Act will also “develop a plan for establishing a commercial distribution system for fresh produce and healthy foods to corner stores” and “assist corner stores in becoming more energy efficient.” Up-to-date information on the FEED DC Act can be found here

Pushing Vegetables, Fruits on the Corner

May 14, 2010 in News

Howard University News Service, May 14, 2010. This article describes the Healthy Corner Store Program in Washington D.C., and the potential for small stores to help improve access to healthy foods. A report by D.C. Hunger Solutions found that “25 small stores in Wards 7 and 8 are located in food deserts,” and that they are an important aspect of the food environment. The group trained 12 participating store owners on techniques to encourage customers to buy produce, and gave them free produce to sell.

Report Finds District’s “Grocery Gap” Leaves Some Neighborhoods with Few Options for Healthy Food; Urges Creation of an Initiative to Spur Development and Close the Gap

March 16, 2010 in News

March 16, 2010, D.C. Hunger Solutions. This press release describes a new report by D.C. Hunger Solutions and Social Compact that found many low-income neighborhoods in Washington D.C. lack access to full-service grocery stores. The report, When Healthy Food is Out of Reach, recommends the creation of a Healthy Food Access Initiative that would “attract full-service grocers and other healthy food vendors to underserved neighborhoods and improve the capacity of existing food retailers in those areas.”  The recommendations emphasize including corner stores and other small-scale ventures in the initiative.

Little Stores and Fatter Kids

January 15, 2010 in News

January 15, 2010, Miller-McCune.This article focuses on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the Snackin’ Fresh campaign in Philadelphia, both coordinated by The Food Trust, and a related research project conducted by Temple University. Researchers found that 53 percent of fourth- to sixth-graders in the study area shopped in corner stores at least occasionally, and about 15 percent reported they shopped in corner stores both before and after school, five days a week. The article discusses how The Food Trust is promoting healthier eating among youth, and briefly describes other corner store projects in D.C. and Baltimore.

Successfully Selling Fresh Produce in Washington, D.C. Corner Stores

January 1, 2009 in Reports

D.C. Hunger Solutions, 2009. This 22-page report describes the work of the D.C. Healthy Corner Store Program, providing a good overview of the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned in distributing fresh produce to small-scale stores. The project’s focus groups found strong demand for affordable, high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables among both adults and children. They tested two types of cooperative distribution models that emphasized local and/or organic produce. Overall, the majority of the stores experienced success in selling fresh produce.

  • Store Participation Agreement on pages 16-17

Creating Healthy Corner Stores in the District of Columbia

January 1, 2008 in Tools

D.C Hunger Solutions, 2008.


This document provides the results of a survey of corner stores to examine barriers to and possibilities for increasing their inventory of healthy foods. It also recommends strategies and opportunities for increasing the availability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods that will be relevant to many other areas.

Store inventory tool on pages 34-38
Store interview tool on pages 39-42