Community members will come together on Monday, May 16, to transform Bob’s Liquor & Food, located at 510 West J Street in Benicia, to provide and promote healthy foods to its customers.

“This will be the first store in Solano County to undergo a ‘Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community’ makeover,” said lead organizer Patti Baron, Benicia Police Department, Youth Action Coalition coordinator. “On Monday volunteers will give store an exterior and interior makeover, followed by a celebration for the community on Friday, May 20 from 3 to 6 p.m.”

The store will undergo several changes, including reducing storefront signage for unhealthy products and placing more nutritious products near the front of the store. The makeover will provide customers with easy access to healthy options, especially near the checkout area, with the intention to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Bob’s Liquor & Food owner, Baljit Kaur, is thrilled to be Solano’s first makeover recipient, and invites her neighbors to drop by to see the changes.

“Our neighborhood is like a family and we all want our family to be healthy,” Kaur said. “I know the changes we’re making will help improve the health and safety of our neighborhood. I care about my customers and the community. I eat healthy and I want to encourage others to do so also, especially the children that come to my store. I feel very close to my customers, many of whom I know by name.”
Benicia Chief of Police Erik Upson added his praise of Kaur’s willingness to participate and to be the first store to undergo the makeover.

“I am pleased with the partnership between our Benicia Youth Action Coalition and Solano Public Health’s Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community program,” Upson said. “Working with our local retailers to reduce the advertising and marketing of alcohol and tobacco products to our youth and offering healthier food choices is vital to promoting a healthy community. We hope other retailers will join in this effort to keep our children and community safer and healthier.”

On May 20, the first 50 customers will receive a free bag of produce provided by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Norma Lisenko, founder of Healthy Cooking with Kids in Benicia, will demonstrate ways to prepare healthy snacks and meals for families. Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Benicia City Councilmembers are expected to be on hand.

Landscaping makeover materials and labor will be donated by Kathleen Huffman of The Repurposed Okie and Art Durden of EZ Tree Service. Funding for the project comes from Proposition 99 (tobacco tax) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community is a statewide initiative being led by local Public Health agencies throughout California who are working with local merchants such as Bob’s to make healthy changes to their stores.

Solano Public Health has joined with Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community to advance its goals of increasing access to healthy foods and beverages and creating tobacco free environments throughout the County. Solano Public Health staff and partners are working with other stores to schedule more makeovers throughout Solano County. For more information, visit healthy food in our community.