Steve Gagnon offers healthy “Fall River Fresh” at McArthur Mart

Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency sent out the following press release commending McArthur Mart for providing healthy food choices in the Intermountain area:

SMALL CHANGES, BIG MOMENTUM AT LOCAL STORE

 SHASTA COUNTY – As you walk through McArthur Mart you will notice something strikingly unique about this small store. Mouthwatering advertisements of fresh, crisp salads and delicious, healthy wraps with the slogan “Fall River Fresh” are hung throughout the store.

Steve Gagnon knows what it takes to be a small business owner. He is dedicated and truly cares about the community he serves. He found working long hours with short breaks made it easy for him to grab quick, easy and convenient snacks – “junk food” – and his weight and health began to suffer. This prompted him to take a new approach to promoting healthy food in his small rural town.

Improving access to healthy food is a critical component in building an equitable food system. “Retailers are always trying to find that one niche that sets us apart,” Gagnon said. He is doing that by adopting a new approach called “Fall River Fresh.”

“Mini-marts have had a bad reputation for pushing junk food,” Gagnon said. He’s trying to change this with a clean and fresh approach. This new direction has been a good move for the business. He has noticed an increase in sales of healthier options, and he continues to change things to fit the season. During the summer he offers fresh sliced fruits, and during the fall and winter he offers hot soups and sandwiches.

He encourages other store owners to use the items already available to them to make simple changes, advising, “Crawl before you walk.” As with any new approach in business there are some challenges. Fresh foods are extremely perishable, so he says it’s important to advertise and pay close attention to dates. He started by providing healthier snack bars, and now offers grab-and-go sandwiches, healthy wraps, salads and yogurt parfaits prepared daily. Fresh sliced fruits and soups are available seasonally. McArthur Mart’s new approach, “Fall River Fresh” has maximized its business, Gagnon said. Keep it fresh and join the movement! For more information on how to add more fruit and vegetables to your store, contact Ereka Bishop at 225-5126.

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