Retail’s New Healthy Convenience Modelhttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/HealthyCStore.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Convenience retail use to just be about quick food on the go. Consumers today are now shopping for food three to four times a week though, and looking for healthy alternatives, high-quality fresh foods, and prepared items they can eat on-demand. With increased competition from restaurants and grocers, convenience retailers have had to rethink their model. Focusing on food transparency, giving back, and making healthy food affordable and accessible, a new group of conscious convenience retailers are paving the way for community food destinations, and consumers are responding.
The Goods Mart
As a PR maven for Krupa Consulting you could say Rachel Krupa’s day job influenced her dream job. Working with brands that focus on wellness and sustainability, like Sweetfin Poke, By CHLOE, Good Catch, and Matchabar, she set out to create a corner store market similar to what she grew up with. What resulted was The Goods Mart, a 900 square foot space located on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake.
For everyday items you find in a typical convenience store, The Goods Mart features healthy, better-for-you alternatives. With a curated assortment of more than 300 products made with ethical, eco-responsible practices, customers can shop the good and feel good sans processed foods, artificial ingredients, nitrates or pesticides, GMOs, growth hormones, artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors. You won’t even find single-serve plastic bottles there. Further sourcing the best-of-the-best, Krupa has also tapped local merchants Bakers Kneaded, Banh Oui, Botanica, and some of her clients as suppliers, and works with Grub Box to provide “ugly fruit” that might typically be thrown away for a lower cost.
Giving back, The Goods Mart works with non-profit Lunch on Me to donate day-old baked goods and food within 24 hours of the expiration date to the homeless. Customers are even encouraged to leave a tip with their purchase that goes to local charities which change each quarter.
The bold, vibrant zigzag exterior artwork commissioned from a local street artist, Love Berto screams LA community and signals and mindset change for the convenience store model. A small lush garden area, designed by landscape architect Terremoto, encourages customers to take a seat and enjoy their healthy choice rather than rush off too fast.
Hank’s Mini Mart
With Hank’s Mini Market you could say what’s old is new again. Founded in 1997, by Hank Jackson, this market has been servicing the community for more than 20 years. Hank’s daughter, Kelli Jackson, stepped in to transform this defunct corner liquor store into a market with healthy choices and fresh produce available to the community.
After studying public arts and community development at USC, Kelli wanted to breathe new life into the market to meet the needs of the community. Located in a food desert in Hyde Park that meant making healthy food accessible. Rather than waiting for change, she took matters into her own hands by partnering with Los Angeles Food Policy Council, fast-casual restaurant Sweetgreen, and California Freshworks Fund to advise on all aspects from reconstruction and funding to product sourcing and business sustainability.
After a two-year renovation, Hank’s Mini Market may still be small, but it’s making a huge difference in giving access to healthy food for neighborhood residents. Customers can share motivating stories and quotes via a community wall, and a kid’s table provides a place to hang out.
Inspired by European small format grocers, Founder and CEO Mike Fogarty wanted to create a hybrid of a natural market and fast casual restaurant with the ease of convenience in the heart of downtown Denver. His vision was a 2,700 square foot space of curated products based on the neighborhood’s needs. Choice Market fills the gaps for those that don’t have access to a traditional grocery store in the vicinity.
Open 24 hours a day seven days a week, 365 days a year, this concept is convenience amplified. With a focus on healthy, organic, and local, Choice Market serves made-to-order sandwiches, flatbreads, bowls, salads, and pasta, as well as the fundamentals of milk, fruits, and vegetables. Bread is sourced from local bakers, and meat from local suppliers, while wine, Kombucha, and Denver’s best brews are served on tap.
An open kitchen allows customers to watch food being made while shopping for even the shortest of trips. Food can be taken on the go or enjoyed in a small dining area. Recognizing the undeniable need for convenience, customers can order in-store at self-serve kiosks, or order online and have the items delivered within an hour for a flat rate via Postmates.
The mission doesn’t stop at the food though; the space incorporates elements of sustainable design utilizing reclaimed woods, and community influence with a Colorado flag mural painted by Denver artist, Pat McKinney.
Conscious convenience is going to require mainstream and traditional convenience store retailers to not only reevaluate their product assortment and sourcing but also their mission. Consumers are looking for more than just “convenient” and those retailers that can find ways to operationally support consumer values at the same time create that community connection will find themselves ahead of the game.
Photo Credit: Wyatt Conlon | Choice Market | Los Angeles Magazine