A downtown Roseburg convenience store is trying to make healthier choices more noticeable for customers and encouraging them to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of sugar-filled snacks and drinks.
Blue Zones volunteers were in the Downtown Market on Southeast Jackson Street on Saturday, June 22, helping rearrange the food selections so that the more nutritious foods were more readily seen and more appealing when a customer enters the store.
Jenny Wood, a registered dietitian and a clinical dietitian at CHI Mercy Medical Center volunteered her time to help reorganize the displays so people will realize that the food is available.
“It’s so wonderful to be able to provide healthier foods in what is otherwise considered a food desert,” Wood said. “The first time I came to the store to assess it, I was surprised that there was a lot of healthy foods, but it was all hidden so our goal with this is to highlight it front and center, and help people realize that there are more choices.”
The owner of the store Jit Singh, who has had the store in downtown Roseburg for four years, decided to augment the food offerings in the store by providing more items similar to a grocery store. Singh wants to try to meet the needs that have been expressed by downtown residents.
“We hope they walk in here and see some of the healthy stuff and the produce,” Singh said. “We want to highlight it when you walk in here. We’re helping people eat better. We always ask people what do you need, what do you want us to have.”
Blue Zone volunteers added some signage on the outside and inside of the store to let people know that the healthy selections are available.
Erica Gingery, who has worked at the store for a year said she was happy to see the store stock items more like a grocery store than a convenience store.
“There’s no grocery stores and when Safeway went away (in downtown) and we were happy that this store opened, we had to go all the way across town for anything,” Gingery said. “Everything in the store is customer-requested
Juliete Palenshus of Blue Zones Project-Umpqua said downtown Roseburg is considered a food desert where it is difficult to buy affordable or good quality produce, and Blue Zones wants to help change that.
“We just want to support him because in his mind that could be considered a risky thing, but we want to let him know that the community is 100% behind him making those changes,” Palenshus said.
Palenshus says the store is working toward get Blue Zones approved. Grocery store can get certified by making changes in their stores to nudge shoppers to make the healthy choice.