The first grocery store to be designated as Blue Zones Project-approved in Douglas County was honored at a ceremony last week in the store.

It’s not a surprise that Sherm’s Thunderbird Market on Northeast Stewart Parkway in Roseburg was approved by the Blue Zones organization for that designation after all the projects the store officials had already implemented.

There’s the Blue Zones healthy food checkout stands, a Blue Zones parking zone that encourages people to take more steps to and from their car, and other changes to encourage people to buy healthy food for their families.

Store manager John Robertson said each activity gave the store points, which went toward qualifying for the approval. Four healthy food checkout stands had already been added about a year ago and Robertson said they are working.

“It’s a big deal,” Robertson said. “The impulse items are healthier, no candy, no gum, no sodas and we get a lot of positive feedback. Some people purposely go through the Blue Zones checkout stand because they don’t want their kids to see the sugary impulse items.”

John Dimof, Organization Lead for Blue Zones Project — Umpqua said the group has been tracking the sale of apples, bananas, oranges, water and nuts at the four Blue Zones checkout lanes at Sherm’s, and have measured an increase of approximately 4,000 pounds of additional produce consumption in just over a year that the lanes have been in place.

“This is one effective strategy that we’re seeing positive results from,” Dimof said.

Robertson said not only are the fruits at the checkstands selling well, but the store has also added a cooler at the entrance to the special lanes, that includes healthy sandwiches and wraps, instead of sugary drinks.

Some of the customers said they had already been working on eating healthier and had been attending the Total Health Improvement Plan classes that Blue Zones also supports.

Susie Erickson was excited to see the Blue Zones approval for the grocery store.

“Oh it’s way working for me,” Erickson said. “ I lost weight, and my lab tests are getting better, I have more energy and just happier with a lot more positivity, it really does work.”

Erika Franklin agreed. She said she feels a lot better after eating healthier.

“My health is definitely better, I have more energy, I sleep better, and it made a difference in like the first week,” Franklin said.

Jennifer Phelps was just learning about the Blue Zones theory when she stopped in at the store, and and found out about recipes and health tips and it sounded good to her.

“Good idea, I think I’m going to start doing some of that,” Phelps said.

Customers could sign a personal pledge to eat healthier. Those who parked in the Blue Zones parking zone and walked the extra steps to get to the store, and those who checked out in one of the Blue Zones-approved checkstands also got some Blue Zones giveaways.

The Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community initiative designed to enable community members to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases and higher quality of life.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or email at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

(3) comments


Walking 50 extra yards once or twice a week will not make a significant increase in health or fitness. This Blue Zone project is big on good intentions, but short on actual results. If you want to get into decent shape, you should be exercising about an hour a day at least 4 or 5 days a week. Join a health club, run, etc., eat fewer carbs.


Please we need more government control in order to save us from our own bad decisions.

Willie Stroker

Half of those people standing around that table work for The Blue Zones Project and are not customers of Sherms.

Those shelves near the checkouts have a small selection and only have a couple individual bananas per checkout. It looks like I'm at a garage sale that's selling fruit and not an actual store!

10 steps away is a 100' long wall of candy and chocolate that 99% of people will go to instead of buying an overpriced half rotten banana.

Those reusable bags need to be used more then 327 times in order to actually make a difference. Otherwise they cause more harm then plastic bags. Even paper bags need to be used 7 times to actually be beneficial to the environment! Only 10% of people actually use the reusable bags that they receive/buy.

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