What is a Healthy HotSpot?
Healthy HotSpots are places where changes are being made that make it easier for people to make healthy choices.
Healthy HotSpot: Corner Stores Pilot Program
As part of the CPPW initiative, over 20 small, local corner stores within 8 communities across suburban Cook County were recruited into the pilot program. With support from community-based organizations and municipalities, this program is designed to help each corner store owner offer a variety of new healthy food products. By offering foods such as whole grains, low-fat dairy products, low-fat proteins like fish or beans, and fruits and vegetables, these stores are making it easier for local residents to access healthy food items. See our healthy product menu of options for more information.
In return for participating in the program, stores will be given new equipment, resources, marketing materials, and expert assistance so they can continue to increase their healthy food options. These will be our first generation Healthy HotSpot corner stores, paving the way for a healthier tomorrow by taking simple steps to provide customers with healthier options.
- Healthy HotSpot Launch
- On November, 9th 2011, CCDPH launched its Healthy HotSpot program in Harvey as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. The celebration was held at H&M Grocery and highlighted the importance of healthy food access in local corner stores for communities with low access to supermarkets. Click here to view pictures from the event and see what changes have been made.
- Mi Mexico Grocery Reveals New Produce Section
- Mi Mexico, located at 1760 W. Algonquin Road in Mount Prospect, unveiled its new produce section during a ribbon cutting event on January 26, 2012 . The ribbon cutting was performed by members of the Village of Mount Prospect including Irvana Wilks, Mayor; Bill Conney, Community Development Director; Brian Simmons, Deputy Director of Community Development; Maura El Metennani, Public Information Officer; Clare O’Shea, Senior Planner and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Fletcher. Through the Healthy HotSpot corner store project, Mi Mexico has new produce display tables and a freezer for frozen fruits and vegetables.
This summer, Mi Mexico joined the Healthy HotSpot pilot program and introduced six new healthy foods items to the store’s inventory. Staff of the CPPW initiative and the Village of Mount Prospect assisted the store owner, Francisco Perez, in identifying healthier food options as well as bringing in new equipment to display and hold some of his new healthy food items.
The changes to the store’s layout and equipment were made to better display healthy food items and to assist shoppers in making healthy decisions. In addition to the physical changes at the store, Mi Mexico is encouraging the entire neighborhood to eat healthier. Mi Mexico is providing healthy snacks at local events, such as Mt. Prospect Public Library story times and craft classes, and distributing gift certificates at community classes.
- Field Trips to Cicero Corner Stores
- The community organization Corazon Community Services that supports the Healthy HotSpot initiative has been taking youth on field trips to participating corner stores in Cicero. The purpose of the field trips is to demonstrate to students that they can access healthy food options in stores around their own community. Activities on the field trips include menu label reading and milk taste tests to discuss the benefits of low-fat milk options.
Click here to see an article written by a Corazon Health Ambassador about a field trip to Carniceria Cosalima. This article was published in the February edition of the Town of Cicero newsletter.
- NewCiceroTV Interview
- Erika Zacarias, Corazón Community Services' Director of Health Program, attended a town hall meeting to update the Town of Cicero President Larry Dominick and the Board of Trustees on the Healthy Hotspot initiative. She invited them to visit participating stores and asked them to continue to support the local grocery stores in Cicero. At the town hall meeting the Town of Cicero’s NewCiceroTv approached Erika to showcase the Healthy HotSpot initiative on their new online community video resource. Check out the video interview of Erika and two corner store owners talking about the Healthy HotSpot initiative in Cicero
Healthy HotSpot Resources
The Cook County Department of Public Health encourages organizations to create their own healthy corner store projects. Here are some tip sheets to help your organization provide technical assistance to local corner store owners.
Adding Healthy Products
Buying and Handling Fresh Produce
Seasonal Produce Guide
Healthy HotSpots in Suburban Cook County
How can you identify these Healthy HotSpot corner stores? All corner stores involved in the project will have a Healthy HotSpot logo decal on their front door. Check out the list of corner stores below to find a Healthy HotSpot, and click on the link to learn more about the store.
Corner stores list
- Join an Alliance for Healthy & Active Communities (AHAC) to learn how to increase the availability, accessibility, and demand for healthy nutritional options in your own community.
- Become a member of Cook County Connects. Cook County Connects features an online social network connecting hundreds of people working to make suburban Cook County a healthier place to live, work, and play. Join today to connect with, learn from, and share best practices with others in suburban Cook County who are working with corner stores to increase fresh produce in their own community. To join, fill out a member request form.