The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as areas where there is limited access to fresh and healthy food. For those living in food deserts, small retail stores (also known as corner, convenience or neighborhood stores) are often the primary food source. Unfortunately, many neighborhood stores do not offer fresh, frozen or even canned fruit and vegetables. The Cabarrus Healthy Corner Store Network (CHCSN) spanned the full REACH grant period from 2014-2018 and increases the accessibility, availability and visibility of healthy items in Cabarrus County neighborhood stores.
Store owners are provided merchandising and product placement training. The program coordinator worked with owners to make store changes designed to improve both the store's aesthetic appeal and the visibility of healthy items. Efforts are also made to help the store owner identify healthy items with the best potential to meet customers’ needs and yield a financial profit.
SNAP/EBT approved stores are eligible to participate and those located in food desserts are given selection priority.