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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Feb;115(2):242-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.017.

Corner stores: the perspective of urban youth.



We examined the perspectives of low-income, urban youth about the corner store experience to inform the development of corner store interventions.


Focus groups were conducted to understand youth perceptions regarding their early shopping experiences, the process of store selection, reasons for shopping in a corner store, parental guidance about corner stores, and what their ideal, or "dream corner store" would look like. Thematic analysis was employed to identify themes using ATLAS.ti (version 6.1, 2010, ATLAS.ti GmbH) and Excel (version 2010, Microsoft Corp).


Focus groups were conducted in nine kindergarten-through-grade 8 (K-8) public schools in low-income neighborhoods with 40 fourth- to sixth-graders with a mean age of 10.9±0.8 years.


Youth report going to corner stores with family members at an early age. By second and third grades, a growing number of youth reported shopping unaccompanied by an older sibling or adult. Youth reported that the products sold in stores were the key reason they choose a specific store. A small number of youth said their parents offered guidance on their corner store purchases. When youth were asked what their dream corner store would look like, they mentioned wanting a combination of healthy and less-healthy foods.


These data suggest that, among low-income, urban youth, corner store shopping starts at a very young age and that product, price, and location are key factors that affect corner store selection. The data also suggest that few parents offer guidance about corner store purchases, and youth are receptive to having healthier items in corner stores. Corner store intervention efforts should target young children and their parents/caregivers and aim to increase the availability of affordable, healthier products.


Corner store; Low-income; Snacking; Urban; Youth

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