Corner Stores as Community-Based Enterprises for Health Promotion: A Qualitative Case Study
thesisposted on 27.10.2017, 00:00 authored by Rachael Denise Dombrowski
This study identifies and describes the locally relevant understanding of healthy corner stores as community-based enterprises (CBEs) within eight suburban communities. In this study, CBEs are defined as a community-lead or community-oriented small businesses with a common goal to improve population health (Peredo and Chrisman, 2006). The 21 corner store owners assessed in this study were participants of the suburban Cook County Healthy HotSpot (HH) corner store pilot project. In collaboration with eight local community-based organizations (CBOs), owners facilitated increasing healthy food access within low-income communities. The aims of this study are: 1) to explicate the locally relevant understanding of corner stores as CBEs and health promoting agents, and 2) to theorize about the role of store owners’ CBE identities in the institutionalization of health promoting activities, to foster healthy eating over the long-term. In order to determine store owner alignment with a CBE identity, a qualitative case study design was used. Existing outcome data from all HH stores, via a market basket assessment, was reviewed to categorize stores into three typologies (low-mid-high) of increased healthy food access. Interviews from store owners, CBO staff and consumer focus groups were analyzed to determine how corner stores aligned with CBE characteristics, and how this influenced their health promoting activities. Owners that more closely associated with the CBE identity were more likely to value community health, have a positive, familial relationship with their consumers, view their store as a community resource and have an overall health promoting vision for their store in the community. Consumers and CBOs also valued the store presence in the community and had a positive view of the store owner. Study results can assist in theory development and intervention design in working with corner stores and other small businesses, as CBEs that promote healthy behaviors and economic vitality in low-income communities.