Title

Balancing Mission and Margins: What Makes Healthy Community Food Stores Successful

Authors

Sara John, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
Megan R. Winkler, Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
Ravneet Kaur, Division of Health Research and Evaluation, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford, IL 61107, USA.
Julia DeAngelo, Departments of Health Policy Management & Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Alex B. Hill, Urban Studies and Planning and Detroit Food Map Initiative, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.
Samantha M. Sundermeir, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
Uriyoan Colon-Ramos, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, 950 New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, DC 20052, USA.
Lucia A. Leone, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.
Rachael D. Dombrowski, Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies, College of Education, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, USA.
Emma C. Lewis, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
Joel Gittelsohn, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

7-11-2022

Journal

International journal of environmental research and public health

Volume

19

Issue

14

DOI

10.3390/ijerph19148470

Keywords

case study approach; community store; cross-case analysis; food access; healthy food retail; nutrition; retail food environment; store success; urban

Abstract

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.

Department

Global Health

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