Healthy Food Retail

The Healthy Food Retail Initiative is a collaborative approach to increasing access to healthy foods, especially in neighborhoods where residents primarily rely on convenience or corner stores for basic food needs. For nearly a decade, the PRCHN has played a critical role in Cleveland’s corner store initiatives. Through the REACH grant, the PRCHN is working to improve access to healthy foods in under-served neighborhoods by working with convenience and corner store owners to add healthier items to their inventory. 

Project Aims

  • Convene small food retailers to share lessons learned and best practices for procuring, marketing, and selling healthier options 
  • Identify and provide needs for technical assistance to improve and maintain healthy offerings in stores.
  • Develop and implement a pilot cooperative purchasing program in partnership with store owners and local food distributor or hub.
  • Identify existing best practices and toolkits around shared-use kitchen facilities and entrepreneurs.  
  • Connect entrepreneurs to shared-use kitchen facilities to develop or scale healthy food options for sale in the small retail network.
  • Provide technical assistance to store owners seeking to participate in the statewide SNAP Incentive program with Produce Perks Midwest


The Healthy Corner Store Initiative is primarily focused on the City of Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs such as the City of East Cleveland. Here is a map of the stores currently in the network. 

Project Timeline & History


    • The original Cleveland Corner Store Project helped increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in convenience stores in under-served Cleveland neighborhoods. It also involved the reduction of tobacco and alcohol signage in such stores.The research was conducted through the Center for Health Promotion Research in partnership with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition. While funding for the project concluded in 2009, the findings and protocol of the project were applied in subsequent years to the corner store initiative through REACH and HIP-Cuyahoga partners. 

2014 – 2018

      • PRCHN served as the Healthy Eating & Active Living anchor institution for HIP-Cuyahoga and lead the community engagement, healthy food retail, produce prescription and shared-use initiatives. 
      • Funding was received through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health grant (REACH) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
      • The PRCHN and REACH partners developed the Healthy Food Retail Initiative with assistance from The Food Trust in 2015. Additionally, residents in the target communities nominated stores in their neighborhood where they saw an opportunity to add healthy offerings. 
      • Two PRCHN-trained Community Health Ambassadors worked alongside PRCHN interns during summer 2016 to assess and recruit stores for the Healthy Retail Initiative and completed a baseline inventory at each store.
      • 22 Corner stores were added to the Good Food Here Corner Store Network.  

2019 – Present

      • PRCHN is a partner agency in 2nd Cycle of REACH funding in with HIP-Cuyahoga. Our center is maintaining and enhancing the small retail work (activities listed above) and also working with charitable food systems such as food pantries and hot meal sites to establish nutrition standards and service guidelines
        • This is a five-year funding cycle through 2023 to work on project activities listed above
    • 14 Corner stores have maintained engagement with the program.
    • The PRCHN is collaborating with FARE to provide Heart Smarts, a SNAP-ED program that offers nutrition lessons, recipes, and wrap-around resources to store customers. 

PRCHN Team & Project Partners


Morgan Taggart, MUPD: Director of Healthy Food Access Initiatives

Briana McIntosh, MPH, CPH: Food Systems & Nutrition Project Coordinator

Local and National Partners

The FARE Project (Food Access Raises Everyone), Cuyahoga County Board of Health and Health Improvement Partnership Cuyahoga, Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen, Cleveland Department of Public Health, Cleveland American Middle Eastern Organization, and store owners in the Good Food Here Network.



Our toolkits offer resources around planning, implementation and sustainability for both planning organizations and store owners, while also giving examples from our own personal experiences during the Good Food Here initiative in Cleveland.


  • Taggart M, Shore K, Palombo B, McIntosh B, Ellis A, Collins D. Bones E, Drake-Cortes A, Vila J, Tepel J, Trapl E, McKinney B. Community Ambassadors: Building Resident Capacity to Change the Local Food Environment. APHA Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. Nov. 2019.
  • Briana Mcintosh, MPH, Anna Thornton, MPH, Erika S. Trapl, PhD, Delores Collins, Erika Hood, M.Ed, Michele Benko, MS, RD, LD, Kakul Joshi, MPH, and Elaine A. Borawski, PhD. Creating Greater Destinies: Results of a Resident-led Approach to Health Equity in Greater Cleveland. American Clinical and Translational Science Conference. March 2019, Washington, DC.
  • Michele Benko; Samantha Smith; Anna Thornton; Shari Bolen; Kakul Joshi; Jonathan Lever; Wanda Ali-Matlock; Briana Mcintosh; Erika Hood; and Erika S. Trapl. HIP-Cuyahoga: Partnering to increase access and create opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, and quality chronic disease care in under-resourced 2018 APHA annual meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Kakul Joshi, Briana McIntosh, Jennifer Roberts. Expanding Healthy Retail Opportunities through Community Involvement: Good Food Here store owner guides Cleveland Clinic, Tubbs-Jones Center. March 2017.
  • Joshi, Kelly, Benko, Petrone, Burns, and Trapl. Beginnings of a healthy retail movement in Cuyahoga County (video). November 2016. Global Public Health Film Festival (Denver, CO). 



For more information or questions, please contact Morgan Taggart at mxt

This work is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.