Adam Aridi had some onions and other produce tucked into the back of Save Way Market, but many shoppers overlooked them. Then the team from Eat Fresh, Live Well offered to help Adam sell more produce – and provide the south Toledo neighborhood with much needed access to healthy food.
Eat Fresh, Live Well supplied Adam’s store with a wooden stand to prominently display produce in front of Save Way when he became a Toledo healthy corner store in 2012. Colorful signs adorn the stand, the store’s entrance and the cooler door where some produce is kept. The team also has put produce advertisements on the front counter and given Adam other marketing assistance.
“People come here to buy other items, so we had to push the produce,” Adam explains.
Cars are a luxury in the low-income south Toledo neighborhood where Adam’s store is located, and residents often either walk or take the bus to shop for groceries. More affluent neighborhoods have several shopping options, but for some Toledoans such as those living near Save Way, corner stores are the main source of groceries.
Adam says the Eat Fresh, Live Well team and improved fresh produce selection has helped increase Save Way’s sales, foot traffic and customer satisfaction. Redemption of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food vouchers for produce alone doubled at Save Way.
Joining the initiative is a wise move for neighborhood stores like Save Way, Adam says. Lemons, tomatoes, bananas, apples and oranges are among top sellers, and there are times when Adam offers strawberries, cantaloupe and other produce.
“In this type of neighborhood, I think it’s important,” he says. “It helps the neighbors. It helps stores, too.”
Adam shops for deals on produce, which is critical.
“You have to be careful with the amount you buy,” Adam says. “If you don’t sell it, then you have to throw it out.”
He adds: “Nobody wants to lose money. It’s a business. You’re in business to make money.”
The map below shows neighborhoods in the heart of Toledo where there are no supermarkets within a mile that carry an array of affordable, healthy food options.