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Program brings healthier food to Warren convenience stores

Local News

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Warren convenience stores are taking part in an effort to make healthier food choices available for more people.

Two local stores participating in the Ohio Department of Health’s “Good Food Here” program are Little Mac’s on Parkman Road and Smart Mart Food on Youngstown Road. 

There were large posters out front of Smart Mart Food, advertising that they were taking part in the initiative. They were the first store in the area to participate.

Cassandra Clevenger from the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership helps run the program at the store.

“Good Food Here is a set of marketing materials that has developed by creating healthy communities coalition, which is a statewide initiative happening in counties all over the state of Ohio,” Clevenger said. 

Among those marketing materials are signs that point people to healthier options inside the stores, including grain and fish.

The store is dedicating shelves near the front to onions and potatoes. In the past, there was also lemons, oranges, cantaloupes, peppers, apples and bananas. 

“Sales have been a little bit of a challenge, so we really want to work to get more attention to the program, get more sales to the program. As sales expand, they can expand their offerings and as summer comes, we’ll have more fresh produce too,” said Clevenger. 

There is not a lot of shelf space in convenience stores, so Clevenger said convincing an owner to give some of it up for fresh foods can be difficult.

“There really has to be a mission alignment. There has to be a drive for a store owner to want to do this. You’re not going to make a million dollars doing this in your store. Our goal right now for a lot of stores is to make sure we’re breaking even, or seeing a little bit of profit come from that,” Clevenger said. 

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