Stories from the Communities
Mexico Lindo was the first Hispanic store to open in Ottumwa 16 years ago. The store manager worked with Compre Saludable/Shop Healthy Iowa initiative for two years. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Economic Development coordinator has known the store manager for several years and has built a trusting relationship. The coordinator provided training on marketing and store layout changes and assisted the manager with improving the interior of the store. Quote from the manager: "I never received any training in store retail. I just opened the store and hoped it would go well.”
In La Pinata grocery store in Sioux City, the store owner, Marisela Trejo, makes the most of the limited space she has. Although the fruits and vegetables could not be moved to another location closer to the store entrance, one of the items purchased was a two-sided, three-level wooden box display that has wheels and could be placed near the front of the store when possible. When large shipments come in on pallets, Marisela can easily move the display to the side to unload. The display also has a chalkboard, which they have used to market the produce prices, using chalk pens to make the information more decorative and eye-catching.
After the program, the primary manager in charge of making the program’s changes stated that through the use of healthy retail initiatives, he could increase the sale of fruits and vegetables at Zamora’s Fresh Market, improve customer’s eating behaviors, and increase the sale of fruits and vegetables in his store. Additionally, the manager agreed that selling healthy items would increase the financial stability of the store, improve the public image of the store, and attract new customers to the store. After the program ended, the store manager wanted to maintain the changes in the store and continue to install attractive displays throughout the store to better market healthy products.
Hugo and Yadira view offering fresh produce and healthy food options at reasonable prices as a way to give back to their customers, many of whom rely on the convenient location of the store for meeting their grocery needs. Through Shop Healthy Iowa, they are able to highlight fresh produce in the store through improving the quality of their displays and baskets. The signs were such a big hit, Yadira used them to replace many of the advertisements for beer that covered the windows in order to block out the direct sunlight! The change is a message she can feel good about, especially, she says, because of the kids that stop in on their way home from school.