Healthy Corner Stores NL

Healthy Corner Stores NL

8 in 10 communities in our province do not have a supermarket, and rely heavily on offerings at their local corner store for groceries. This project was created to improve the offering of healthy, affordable food in corner stores in these communities.

The Need for Healthy Corner Stores in NL

84% of communities in Newfoundland and Labrador do not have a full-service grocery store, and this province has more corner stores per capita than any other Canadian province, especially in rural areas.

As a result, corner stores are pivotal players in the kind of food that is most readily available in many rural communities.

Residents of rural communities disproportionately rely on the food offerings at local corner stores, or, transportation to nearby communities to purchase food. Not everyone can access transportation.

With so many rural towns lacking a supermarket, corner stores play a unique and vital role in community health and food security in small town Newfoundland & Labrador.

However, their shelves tend to be stocked based on long shelf-life, low wastage, and high profit margins. All of which lessen their availability of healthy food offerings. 

With so many people in Newfoundland & Labrador relying on corner stores for food, this project aims to make it good business sense for corner stores to improve their selection of healthy, affordable, higher-quality food.

Rural stores have a long history of serving as community hubs. A healthy corner store strengthens that role ... [and] small store owners’ capacity to innovate and respond to the local market, represents a wealth of possibility for building a healthier, more equitable, and resilient food system in NL.
— Dr. Cathy Mah, Food Policy Lab, Memorial University

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Pilot Project: Careen’s Convinience

In the spring of 2015, Careen's Convenience, run by Vivian and Gary Careen in the Cape Shore community of Branch, was announced as the pilot store for the project.

Health Canada provided seed funding to support a store makeover, including renovations, marketing support, and food and nutrition education to staff.

By the end of the intervention, Careen's had a deli counter from which to serve its new line of healthy, store-made items to go, like salads, soups, sandwiches, and fruit and vegetable trays.

Careen’s Convenience officially became the first Healthy Corner Store in NL.

2016: Pick Me Up Campaign


In 2016, the team took efforts one step further, with the launch of the Pick Me Up campaign.

Pick Me Up is a healthy retail branding campaign that promotes prepared food products and other healthier options over less healthy alternatives, through effective merchandising in corner stores.

Bright and colourful messaging inform customers of a store's healthier options.  The results have been promising.

This project is a partnership between Food First NL, regional nutritionists at Eastern Health, and Dr. Catherine Mah at the Food Policy Lab at Memorial University. Funding provided by Health Canada.