San Francisco Releases Report On Pilot Program that Works to Put Tobacco & Alcohol in the Backseat

Healthy Retail SF

HealthyRetailSF Report highlights the impacts of carrying healthy food options such as apples and broccoli at local small retailers

San Francisco, CA—The Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the San Francisco Department of Public Health released the HealthyRetailSF Report: Building Healthy Corner Stores and Healthy Communities with the re-grand opening of Palou Market on 3rd Street in the Bayview. The new report highlights the initial impacts and results of the HealthyRetailSF Pilot Program; which works to transform local corner retailers into stores that carry more healthy food options. The report shows increased sales of healthier foods and increased sales revenue for local merchants.

“HealthyRetailSF is an innovative program that brings real solutions toward ensuring San Francisco residents and families have access to healthier food options. Small investments can go a long way towards creating healthier and more sustainable communities,” said Mayor Lee.

In 2013, the Healthy Retail SF program, was created with legislation sponsored by Supervisor Eric Mar and co-sponsored by Supervisor Malia Cohen to incentivize small business owners to sell fresh produce and healthier foods to promote healthy eating and make fresh produce and healthy products available to residents in “food swamps” (neighborhoods that are oversaturated with highly processed non-nutritious food products, tobacco and alcohol).

“Long gone are the days where Bayview residents struggled to find healthy food. The HealthyRetailSF initiative continues to provide a reprieve for residents searching for healthy food options in their own community where there have been none,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “Residents and businesses alike are now seeing the benefits of providing healthy food options.”

Mayor Lee together with the community and neighborhood stakeholders celebrated the recent transformation of Palou Market, 4919 3rd Street, in the Bayview.  Palou Market is one of nine small retailers that participated in the program. The HealthyRetailSF Report analyzed initial findings of the program over the last two years. Highlights include:

  • Total sales increased by an average of 25% per store
  • Total sales increased by an average of $5,000+ per store per month 
  • On average each store is selling over 1,615 units of produce more per month
  • Over 11,000 more units of produce are being accessed in communities per month
  • Increased selling display space for fruits, vegetables, healthy produce while display space for liquor, tobacco and other unhealthy food products decreased

Under HealthyRetailSF, small businesses each received a $15,000 to $20,000 investment for items such as new refrigeration equipment and shelving,  redesign of the physical environment, Point of Sale (POS) systems for better merchandising and tracking, business planning, outreach and community engagement through surveys and marketing and promotions. This small investment, paired with ongoing support over a three year period, allowed for small businesses toward building healthier communities. The program leverages other city services and resources in addition to merchant investments that result in a comprehensive store transformation.

“The Office of Economic and Workforce Development works to ensure our small businesses succeed. HealthyRetailSF allows us to not only support our local merchants but also improve the overall food security for the community. We are proud to be a part of this win-win program with our partners and stakeholders,” said Todd Rufo, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Palou Market, a family run independent small business participating in the HealthyRetailSF program is expanding their produce selection and healthy food options in the neighborhood. Palou Market received new shelving, produce signage and healthy promotional posters. The store owner has also made an additional investment to purchase a large produce refrigerator and is now stocking more fruits and vegetables, dairy, and healthy snacks.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program, because it provides me more support to bring fresh produce to the community," Ali Saeed, Owner of Palou Market.

Research shows that people who live closer to stores that sell healthy food have better diets, and that small stores have the potential to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Specifically, the amount of shelf space dedicated to fruits and vegetables at neighborhood food stores is positively associated with greater consumption of fruits and vegetables among residents nearby.

“Diet-related health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are disproportionate in low-income communities and communities of color partly because of a lack of access to nutritious, healthy, affordable foods.”  Said Director of Public Health, Barbara Garcia. “Together we are working to reduce some of the health disparities that exist and strengthening the community by bringing healthy, nutritious food to the Bayview.”

Lee’s Food Market in the Bayview is San Francisco’s first corner store to complete the three-year pilot program. To honor Lee’s Market for paving the way toward healthier corner stores, there will be family friendly activities for all to enjoy on Thursday, October 27 from 10am -1 pm.  Palou Market is also scheduled to have a community celebration/ribbon cutting on Wednesday, November 9th from 3-5pm.

HealthyRetailSF is led by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), Healthy Southeast (HealthySE)/ Bayview HEAL Zone, and the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition (TLHCSC), the Small Business Development Center, and Sutti Associates. For more information and to read the full HealthyRetailSF Report:


About HealthyRetailSF
HealthyRetailSF is an incentive-based, voluntary program for merchants to shift business models and make the changes needed to remain competitive but to also provide healthier food alternatives in their communities. The HealthyRetailSF program was established by legislation to promote healthy eating and make fresh produce and healthy products available to existing residents.  It combines a community engagement approach along with store redesign technical assistance and brings together facets of business, government, and community to make transformations a reality.  More information,

About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD)
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development's (OEWD) mission is simple – to create shared prosperity in San Francisco. OEWD provides city-wide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning. For more information, go to:

About SF Department of Public Health
The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. SFDPH strives to achieve its mission through the work of two main Divisions – the San Francisco Health Network and Population Health. The San Francisco Health Network is the City's only complete system of care and has locations throughout the City, including San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, and over 15 primary care health centers. With a broad community focus, the ultimate goal of the Population Health Division is to ensure that San Franciscans have optimal health and wellness at every stage of life, and, to achieve this, the Division is comprised of various branches dedicated to core public health services for the City and County of San Francisco, such as health protection and promotion, disease and injury prevention, disaster preparedness and response, and environmental health services.


PDF icon 10.26.16 San Francisco Announces Results from HealthyRetailSF Report.pdf


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