Balancing Mission and Margins: What Makes Healthy Community Food Stores Successful
International journal of environmental research and public health
case study approach; community store; cross-case analysis; food access; healthy food retail; nutrition; retail food environment; store success; urban
Mission-driven, independently-owned community food stores have been identified as a potential solution to improve access to healthy foods, yet to date there is limited information on what factors contribute to these stores' success and failure. Using a multiple case study approach, this study examined what makes a healthy community food store successful and identified strategies for success in seven community stores in urban areas across the United States. We used Stake's multiple case study analysis approach to identify the following key aims that contributed to community store success across all cases: (1) making healthy food available, (2) offering healthy foods at affordable prices, and (3) reaching community members with limited economic resources. However, stores differed in terms of their intention, action, and achievement of these aims. Key strategies identified that enabled success included: (1) having a store champion, (2) using nontraditional business strategies, (3) obtaining innovative external funding, (4) using a dynamic sourcing model, (5) implementing healthy food marketing, and (6) engaging the community. Stores did not need to implement all strategies to be successful, however certain strategies, such as having a store champion, emerged as critical for all stores. Retailers, researchers, philanthropy, and policymakers can utilize this definition of success and the identified strategies to improve healthy food access in their communities.
John, Sara; Winkler, Megan R.; Kaur, Ravneet; DeAngelo, Julia; Hill, Alex B.; Sundermeir, Samantha M.; Colon-Ramos, Uriyoan; Leone, Lucia A.; Dombrowski, Rachael D.; Lewis, Emma C.; and Gittelsohn, Joel, "Balancing Mission and Margins: What Makes Healthy Community Food Stores Successful" (2022). GW Authored Works. Paper 1323.