The Wellness Coalition is working with the Central Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission (CARPDC) to increase the number of convenience stores that provide healthier food options including fresh fruits and vegetables. The second year of this “Healthy Corner Store Program” is now complete and data has been collected.
The first year of the Healthy Corner store program was an important one. Five stores in Montgomery, Macon, and Lowndes counties were chosen to launch the Healthy Corner Store program in “food deserts” (areas with limited access to fresh, healthy food). The stores reported an average gross profit of 26% on the produce they carried. This led to some store owners expanding the program to other stores on their own.
In Year 2, five more stores were added to the program. Data collected from Year 2 stores February through October 2016 include:
- Unit sales of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Total unit sales of fresh fruits and vegetables by month
- Summary of store operating results
- Total operating results for Year 2 stores
Year 2 stores sold a total of 5,817 units of fresh produce. The top five units sold among all stores were:
- Bananas (1980 units)
- Plums (1916 units)
- Apples (621 units)
- Oranges (458 units)
- Lemons/Limes (211 units)
The Year 2 stores grossed $4,501.69 with an average gross profit of 38%. The highest gross profit percent reported for any month by a single store was 67%. The lowest reported gross profit percent was 29%. The Year 2 stores included:
- BJ’s Grocery Store at 843 South Decatur Street in Montgomery
- Citgo #2 at 2311 W. Blvd. in Montgomery
- Raceway 700 at 4302 Mobile Hwy in Montgomery
- BD Food Mart at 11016 Hwy 80 W, in Tyler (Lowndes)
- Texaco Store 87 at 305 Old Montgomery Hwy in Tuskegee (Macon)
During the course of the program, BD Food Mart decided to leave the program. However CARPDC quickly found a replacement store nearby and brought Casey’s Store at 6276 Hwy 80 E in Lowndesboro into the fold.
Since Casey’s Store started later in the year than other Year 2 stores, they are now part of a Year 2 Extension and we will continue to collect data from them through May 2017.
“The Healthy Corner Store program has been very popular with store owners,” said Cade Gunnells, Community Development Specialist at CARPDC. “Casey’s was eager to come on board and quickly gained sales once they were in the program.”
Like in Year 1, CARPDC worked with the stores to help identify ideal product placement to maximize customer engagement, set up space, develop delivery plans, and report successes. One of the early standout successes was BJ’s Grocery Store in Montgomery.
“We recently joined the Healthy Corner Store program and it’s done so well that we’ve already decided to double the amount of space used to sell produce,” said Kenneth Jackson, owner of BJ’s Grocery in Montgomery, early in the program. “We can’t think of a better way for local business owners to improve their bottom line while making the community a healthier place to live and shop.”
A full list of participating stores can be found here.