Local News Noise & Notes Politics

City Unveils Two New ‘Healthy in a Hurry Stores’

Joined by Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., and members of the Louisville Metro Council, Mayor Greg Fischer today opened the sixth and seventh “Healthy in a Hurry” corner stores in two west Louisville neighborhoods where fresh fruits and vegetables are not readily available.

The initiative is part of the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement, which received a $7.9 million federal grant last year to address the lack food security in low-income areas.

The stores are located in the Chickasaw and Portland neighborhoods, where business owners have received federal funds to improve the locations and serve fresh produce.

The Chickasaw location is the Happy Food Mart owned by Muhammad Akbar, who is using approximately $17,000 in grant funds to buy signage, equipment, technical assistance and a first order of produce. The Portland neighborhood store is the Curtis Market, which is owned by James Mitchell, who is using approximately $8,000 to expand the selection of fresh produce and to market the store throughout the area.

Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness Director LaQuandra Nesbitt says the initiative has become an indispensable tool in creating a healthier city by putting fresh foods in poorer communities.

“This movement has had great momentum,” she says. “When the initiative was started it was seen as a solution to the food desserts that we know exist in west Louisville. And it takes quite a bit of time to secure the resources to have a large grocery chain locate into a particular neighborhood and so we have to find alternative solutions,” she says.

Local News

Second "Healthy In A Hurry" Location Opens In Shawnee

Metro Government’s fight against food deserts continued Friday.

Food deserts are areas where fresh produce is hard to find and purchase. To eliminate them, Metro Government has sponsored the “Healthy in a Hurry” program, which uses federal grant dollars to help grocery and convenience stores stock fruits and vegetables.

The first location was unveiled a year and a half ago at a Smoketown convenience store. The second location opened this week in a Shawnee grocery store.

Josh Jennings with the Center for Health Equity says six more stores will open in the next eighteen months.

“We’re looking at another store right now in Park Hill. We haven’t determined whether we’re going to move forward with that store. We’re doing that assessment phase: surveying, doing focus groups. From that point on we’ll do another assessment of about ten to twenty stores at-large that we haven’t visited yet,”” he says.

Jennings says stores the assessments cover a range of issues.

“How big is the store? How much foot traffic does it have? How safe is it? How family-friendly is it? What’s the community buy-in? And then asking the store owner, do you accept food stamps, do you accept WIC, are you trying to be community friendly, community engaged?” he says.

Jennings further says the first Healthy in a Hurry store is doing well.

“She posted record sales in June,” he says. “$730 in sales in June. She posted record profits in July—made about $100 in profit. It’s not a lot, but of course it’s all about volume, and at the end of the day, how much money can you make? They’re going to make a lot more profit on cigarettes and beer and lottery.”

For more on where Louisville’s food deserts are, visit The Edit.