Bringing Fresh Food to Neighborhood Grocery Stores
Neighborhood grocery and corner stores have long been recognized for the huge role they play in the health and well-being of their communities. In many cases, these local stores are anchors in their neighborhoods, providing vital supplies to surrounding residents. But with tight margins, the decision to carry healthy foods, especially fresh produce, at affordable prices can come at a financial cost that makes it out of reach for many grocers.
In fall 2019, Michigan Good Food Fund designed a new training program to help neighborhood stores increase their healthy food inventory in a profitable way.
Seven Detroit-based stores were selected from across the city to participate in the Neighborhood Grocer Training: Carmen’s Mini Mart, Dot’s Market, Marcus Market, Payless Market, Peaches & Greens, Seasons Market, and Super Mexicana. These stores shared a commitment to expanding their healthy food options and participating in long-term business support by Michigan Good Food Fund to ensure ongoing success.
Michigan Good Food Fund partnered with Urbane Development to bring the training to life. The program began with an in-store assessment followed by a two-day intensive training that spanned topics from healthy produce/inventory management, merchandising, and store layout and design to pricing and profitability, store finances, and marketing and community engagement. The group training was followed by one-on-one targeted assistance designed to meet the unique needs of each grocer.
“This training has taught me so much.
I’ll never look at a grocery store the same way again!” – Training Participant
And then the coronavirus hit with Detroit being one of the most impacted cities in the nation. While in-person support was limited, our work with the grocers continues. And these Detroit-based stores are rising through the challenges to show us all what’s possible.
“We are excited to see small and big changes starting to happen since the program’s start. Most recently, Marcus Market made significant changes to add fresh inventory at their store. By removing a section of their liquor wall, they added a new cooler along with floor displays to feature produce and fresh offerings. The store owner reports that customers have been delighted with the change!”
– Jean Chorazyczewski, Director at Fair Food Network and business technical assistance lead on behalf of Michigan Good Food Fund.
By selling more healthy food products and improving operations, these neighborhood grocery stores are better equipped to address the needs of local shoppers while bringing home more profits for their business. With the best practices learned from Urbane Development coupled with the technical assistance offered by Fair Food Network on behalf of Michigan Good Food Fund, this program will help storeowners attract more customers, ensure operational and financial sustainability and pave the way for future growth.
Learn more about Michigan Good Food Fund’s business assistance opportunities.