Bright Spot: Corner Store Initiative (Baltimore Health Stores)

Photo by Sylvia Zhou on Unsplash

This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


Detailed Description

Baltimore Healthy Stores (BHS) improves access to and promotes healthy foods in small stores with the goal of increasing customers' purchase of healthy foods and knowledge and self-efficacy to prepare those foods. The intervention includes five 2-month long phases that focus on different themes (e.g., healthy breakfast, healthy snacks, take-out foods). Each phase includes theme-specific foods that may be promoted through shelf labeling and in-store cooking demonstrations.

*The Center for Training and Research Translation worked with Baltimore Healthy Stores developers to review the evidence in support of the intervention and develop detailed guidance on how to implement it in practice*

Expected Outcomes

At the consumer level, the intervention aims to increase:

  • Healthy food preparation behavior
  • Association between exposure to shelf labels and increases in healthy food purchasing
  • Positive changes in food-related psychosocial factors (knowledge, self-efficacy, intentions)

Cost Details

As of May 2014, the following costs are associated with the program: Cost to modify existing promotional materials. Cost to reproduce materials for each store is estimated at $250/store. Cost of providing wholesaler gift cards and/or the provision of small amounts of the target foods to the store owners is estimated at $250/store ($50/phase of the BHS intervention). Please contact the Healthy Stores program for the latest cost details.

*Some sites have been able to solicit participation without store incentives, since owners felt selling produce could make money for their businesses.

Key Steps for Implementation

  • Create a program identity. In other words, brand your initiative with a catchy name and logo.
  • Recruit owners of small stores to participate in the program.
  • Educate and support store owners.
  • Educate them on healthier foods and beverages. Provide specific guidelines for stocking healthier foods.
  • Work with intended customer population and store owners to identify culturally appropriate, healthier foods to promote in each of the intervention phases.
  • Work with store owners to stock the identified foods.
  • Initiative the five phase intervention by promoting each phase of healthier foods. This promotion can be done through shelf labels, in store cooking demonstrations and taste tests, wall posters, etc. These messages and graphics should be tailored to the intended population.
  • Evaluate program successes and challenges, and revise as needed. Lead organizations (e.g., health department) and small stores.

Required Staffing (FTEs)

It is estimated that 1 FTE will be required for every 8-10 stores for 10-week intervention period plus additional time prior to intervening to recruit and prepare stores, plan promotion, and adapt materials. Staff time is required to coordinate, implement, and evaluate the project.

Promotional materials, wholesaler gift cards and/or the provision of small amounts of the target foods to the store owners.


1 to 2 hours of training should be provided to store owners. Those implementing the project show receive 1 to 2 days of training at the start and 1 day of additional training prior to each of the programs 5 phases.

Types of Staff

Health educator or other master's prepared health professional.

Return on Investment Details

Need to identify a lead agency and participating stores. Additional partners are helpful to support the effort.

Outcome Measures

  • Percentage of targeted corner stores with increased weekly sales of promoted healthy foods
  • Percentage of targeted corner store consumers with increased self-reported skills for food purchasing and preparation
  • Percentage of adults who consume 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables

Process Measures

  • Percentage of targeted corner stores stocking the promoted healthy foods
  • Number of consumers attending in-store training sessions
  • Number of vendors in an area providing healthy food choices

 Related Topics

Card image
Food Access

Card image
Retail Food Environment