Celebrate the Grand Opening of a new Healthy Neighborhood Market in South LA!

Nelson Garcia is transforming his convenience store $1 Dollar Warehouse (60th / Vermont in South Los Angeles) into a Healthy Neighborhood Market under the name Alba Snacks & Services! With his successful online crowd-sourced loan through Kiva Zip, he is creating exciting changes in his market, including a new Healthy Snack Zone with new healthy products for students at nearby John Muir Middle School and Hawkins High School.

Community Celebration and Press Conference on Saturday, March 29!

Join us to celebrate the grand re-opening of Mr. Garcia’s store with a family-friendly street party — good eats, music, arts & dance, smoothie demonstrations, face painting & games, a resource fair, prize raffles and special in-store discounts. Meet Nelson, and the retail consultants, local students and neighborhood allies who make up Nelson’s team. Festivities begin at 11AM and end at 3:30PM. (Facebook Event Page)

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Join Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr. (City Council District 9), South LA store owner Nelson Garcia, and friends from Augustus Hawkins High School, Los Angeles Food Policy Council, LURN, Shook Kelley, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, and Southern California Library at a press conference at 12PM to acknowledge this market makeover project and all the “Good Food Neighbors” who have committed their support to its success. Then, eat, dance, play, and enjoy the party!

Store Owner Spotlight: Nelson Garcia of $1 Dollar Warehouse

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Update: As of February 20, 2014, Nelson is fully funded on his first Kiva Zip loan (referenced below)! Thank you to all who contributed to his campaign. Stay tuned for updates on Nelson’s journey to transform his neighborhood market.

Every quarter, the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN) highlights the efforts of local store operator working actively to grow their business through healthy food. In this edition, we spotlight Nelson Garcia, owner of $1 Dollar Warehouse, a snacks and general goods convenience store in South Los Angeles.

For the past year, Nelson worked closely with staff at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council along with food retail and business development consultants at Shook Kelley and LURN to develop a vibrant re-design plan for Nelson’s store. Through a transformative renovation and business plan, Nelson will re-brand his store “Alba Snacks and Services” and begin to offer fresh and healthy food, starting with a “Healthy Snack Zone” in his store early this year.

To support this “market makeover” project, Nelson is raising funds through a crowd-sourced loan through Kiva Zip. Will you back Nelson? You can be a lender with as little as $25. Find out more here.

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As a charismatic business leader in his community, Nelson offered inspiring words as key note speaker at the first-ever Spanish-language business training of the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, held in Boyle Heights in April 2013. In September, the office of Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Curren D. Price recognized Nelson as a “Healthy Food Champion” for his ambition to provide improved food services.

To build a base of support in the community, Nelson has partnered with a team of students and teachers at a nearby school, Augustus F. Hawkins High School, located a few blocks from his store. Hawkins High School students are an important customer base for Nelson’s store, because they buy snacks before and after the school day. With support from the LAFPC, Hawkins students surveyed nearly 200 local students and residents and presented their findings and recommendations to Nelson on what healthy snack foods their classmates prefer. The students found that there is a dearth of healthy food options though many of their peers would love to buy fruit, yogurt, healthy snack bars and sushi., if it were available.

EvelinOne of those student advisers, Evelin Hernandez, sat down with Nelson Garcia to learn more about his goals for being a healthy food retailer in South Los Angeles. Continue reading

LA City Plastic Bag Ban for Small Stores

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In the City of Los Angeles, a plastic bag ban goes into effect this year, to reduce pollution and waste. Starting July 1, 2014, small stores will be required to ban single use plastic carryout bags. If customers request a carryout bag, stores can provide a paper bag for a $0.10 fee, or offer reusable carryout bags.

The new LA City bag ban applies to small markets, convenience stores, stores selling “milk, bread, soda, and snack foods,” and stores with a Type 20 or 21 license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

STOREOWNER TIPS

Here are some ways to start preparing your store and customers for the ban:

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Encourage your customers to start carrying reusable bags with them when they visit your store.

Put up promotional materials in your store to explain the bag ban, why it’s good for your business and the environment, and how it will affect customers. The Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation created helpful posters in English and Spanish which you can download here and print to put up in your store.

Offer customers reusable carryout bags with the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network logo, or order customized bags promoting your own store name.

paulabag-v2To order the HNMN reusable carryout bag, or order your own custom design, contact Aphrographics at (424-293-3350) or designs@aphrographics.com.

While supplies last, the LA City Bureau of Sanitation reusable carryout bags are being given away at no cost. Contact SRCRD@lacity.org or call (213) 485-2260 to find out more.