Andy's Food Plus!
For the past 13 years, Andy has started his day bright and early: He begins by stocking the fridges, preparing the deli items and – something new he’s added to his routine lately – cutting up the fruit cups he sells in his store. “The fruit cups have been really popular,” Andy says. “All the kids here love them.”
At first glance, Andy’s Food Plus looks like any other corner store, with items for sale that you’d see at any typical neighborhood store. But what makes Andy’s different is a small fridge conveniently placed right by the register. In it, customers can find healthy single-serving beverages, low-fat yogurt and the store’s most popular item: fruit salad.
“I thought about how popular these are at places like Wawa and Quick Check, and thought, ‘I can sell that here to kids,’” Andy says. “It allows me to introduce a healthy item for families in the area. I’ve seen a lot of kids go from just buying chips and other junk to picking up a few fruit cups and take it with them to school or home. The parents love them, too.”
Since joining the Corner Store Network, Andy’s Food Plus has been a Heart Smarts programming store through a partnership with The Food Trust. With Heart Smarts, participants come in to the store and receive nutrition education and incentives for free, while they shop. During a lesson earlier in the year, Andy had to rush to restock the fruit cups because most of the participants used their $4 in Heart Bucks coupons to buy some for themselves or for their children.
Said one lesson participant, “I really appreciate what you are doing here. I’m going to make sure I let everyone know this is happening so that you can get support. If you support us, we will support you!”
Many of the participants come into Andy’s frequently during the day to buy snacks and will stop in during the lessons to listen in and try the taste tests. “The lessons you do here really help,” says a participant.
One participant stops to ask Andy a question about the Confetti Bean Salsa recipe. “Hey, I was just asking papi about you. What was that bean stuff you made in the summer? That stuff was really good and I remember it was easy to make.”
For Andy, it’s not just about providing the community with healthier options – it’s about watching them become more and more engaged.
“It’s important for the kids to learn how to eat and what is good for them,” Andy says. “It’s helpful to the parents, too.”