The Lucky Star Deli on Tyler Street in Trenton is an oasis in a true food desert. Recognizing the importance of offering healthy choices to her customers, store owner Alexsa Zayas was an early and enthusiastic participant in Trenton’s Corner Store Initiative.
Zayas once had weight issues of her own so she recognized the importance of bringing wholesome food to the neighborhood. Moreover, Zayas appreciated the education that comes along with being a healthy corner store. “There’s a general lack of knowledge about healthy food, so the education customers receive is very important,” Zayas said.
Lucky Star Deli enrolled in the Trenton Healthy Corner Store Network at the start of the initiative in 2014. This year, when The Food Trust expanded the Healthy Corner Store Network with support from Novo Nordisk and introduced Heart Smarts and Health Screenings in Trenton,
Lucky Star was chosen as one of four Heart Smarts stores.
Heart Smarts brings nutrition lessons right to the store. Customers learn about selecting healthy foods such as heart healthy whole grains and taste recipes made from healthy products available in the store. Each participant receives four Heart Bucks (each $1) to redeem for any heart healthy items in the store as well as other incentives and information to encourage healthy eating.
Health screenings are also part of Heart Smarts. A nurse from St. Francis Medical Center and the Trenton Health Team’s Mobile Health Van give free blood pressure screenings at the store.
Heart Smarts brings benefits to customers and to store owners. Zayas has acquired some new customers and her customers have better information to guide their purchases.
“The blood pressure screenings really open eyes,” Zayas said. “Many customers have no insurance, so the screening is a way to make them aware of possible health issues. Heart Smarts is a great help to the community; it’s bringing knowledge about health to people who really need it.”