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​Healthy Option Grows in Mecklenburg County as Corner Store Initiative Adds New Location


Mecklenburg County Public Health’s Two ladies holding fruit near a healthy vending machine(MCPH) Food Security Program installed a sixth refrigerator at the Fruteria El Barrio #2 store located at 1401 Eastway Drive in Charlotte as part of the refrigerator pilot program through the County’s Healthy Corner Store initiative. 

Last year, the MCPH Food Security Program expanded initiatives to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to residents who live in food deserts or who might experience food insecurity. 

“Access to healthy food remains a priority for MCPH. Our collaboration with corner store owners helps to bridge critical gaps in equitable access to healthy food for our Mecklenburg County residents,” said Emma León, Health Policy Coordinator, Office of Chronic Disease Policy & Prevention, who leads the initiative.

Food security is a household’s ability to access nutritious foods, which contributes to an active and healthy lifestyle. Nearly 15 percent of households in Mecklenburg County are considered food insecure. That means they have a reduced quality and variety of diet, may eat less, and their eating patterns are disrupted due to a lack of money and resources. 

In 2021, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners placed a priority on addressing food security and allocated resources to scale up programs that provide healthier food in food insecure locations including the Public Health priority areas.  Here’s a list of the other stores in the refrigerator pilot program.

La Corona Meat Market, 6320 North Tryon Street, Suite F
La Luna Tienda Latina,  4832 Central Avenue
Mi Tiendita Mini Market, 2853 Eastway Drive
Rodriguez Super Market, 1409 Eastway Drive
Monroe Convenience Store, 4726 Monroe Road

Corner stores can serve a critical role in the provision of healthy foods in food deserts and food insecure locations. Store owners are willing to introduce healthy inventory with structured supportive systems that can help overcome the challenge of introducing new products and taking on new risk. The County’s Healthy Corner Store initiative helps store owners build profitability and sustainability while providing strategies on product placement and selling healthy, perishable products. Corner stores often lack the equipment to stock perishable goods and making small investments in equipment, like refrigerators, can significantly increase corner stores’ capacity to sell healthy products.  

More information on food insecurity in Mecklenburg County is available at