Corner Stores Pushing Produce Instead of Cookies
Of all the changes coming to Francisco Baez’s cramped corner grocery store in Newark’s North Ward, he is most excited about the new scanner system at the two checkouts.
But Newark officials, who are paying for the new equipment, are most interested in the new refrigeration units that will be installed near the front of the store. Those new refrigerators, to be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, are part of a new effort by Newark — with variations in other cities across the country — to improve the diets of low-income residents.
Until recently, small corner grocery stores were seen by public health officials as part of the obesity problem.
The stores, predominantly family-owned, offered convenience, but the accent was on snack chips, canned goods and sugary drinks. Now, because they are often the sole source of groceries in areas with no full-size supermarket, the stores are becoming linchpins in public health campaigns.