HOPE Collaborative’s Healthy Corner Store Project supports the expansion and improvement of existing small grocers in an effort to increase availability of nutritious, affordable food and improve the built environment, neighborhood safety, and community economic development in Oakland. With a shared ethos on the invaluable nature of bodegas as vital community infrastructure, Urbane supported HOPE's investments in quality food markets in underserved areas to directly benefit low-income communities through job creation, access to nutritious and affordable foods, and by uplifting and further cementing these community anchors.
2013 - 2015
Comprehensive Survey Assessments
Community Surveyor Training
Retailer Technical Assistance
Business Plan Development
Financial Analysis and Modeling
HOPE Collaborative works to achieve community and policy change to promote the health and well-being of the most vulnerable families and youth throughout Oakland. HOPE works at a number of levels to facilitate community-driven change, including sustainable and equitable food systems; healthy and safe environments; and community engagement and leadership development. The Collaborative fosters a number of strategic partnerships throughout the Bay Area to drive bottom-up policy change for its communities.
As part of their ongoing program to develop more equitable food systems, HOPE selected Urbane to reimagine healthy retail options in East and West Oakland. To understand the landscape of neighborhood grocery, Urbane developed a series of surveys capturing store’s physical plant, financials, and operations then worked with HOPE to train community leaders who surveyed over 80 stores in the area. The team recognized that, unlike traditional healthy retail programs that focus on fresh produce or value added items, the Oakland model should focus on prepared foods, including grab-and-go or made-to-order options. The goal was to find a strategy that simultaneously combats reliance on fast food and brings healthy food into the area.
Six stores were selected as pilots in which to implement the comprehensive healthy retail program. Each store was partnered with a community organization intended to provide financial support, as well as a platform for community engagement and customer loyalty.
During the second phase, Urbane worked with HOPE to develop subcontractor RFPs (architects, construction services, and operational technical assistance providers) for the renovation of new and existing stores. Additionally, two of the pilot stores were selected for a larger intervention and moved into new, vacant spaces. These stores underwent a rigorous on-site assessment; the finances of each were examined, including tax returns, financial pro forma documents, and financial models.
To ensure the longevity of the store and healthy retail programs, Urbane developed full business plans for the selected two stores, along with financial modeling, market analysis, and assessment of the lease offer, ultimately assisting with the negotiation for the new spaces.
Urbane further focused its work on the design of financing mechanisms that could support the stores in the long-term, including a 1:1 match program. This included HOPE planning to leverage church-based communities around community development investing through the 1000 Churches Connected Program, as well as strengthening its connection with the Kiva Zip Program in Oakland, a person-to-person lending platform.