Broad Street’s Ana’s Market has been open since 2001, and during all this time, it has been the only place in the neighborhood for residents to buy fresh produce.
Because of its relative isolation, and the lack of any other fresh food options in the area, Ana’s Market has gotten a nearly $15,000 investment from the city in order to upgrade the store so it can sell even more fresh food, including organic produce.
“Now people won’t have to go to the supermarket for those items,” said Thelma Orozco, owner of Ana’s Market. “This will help us get bigger and bigger, like Safeway.”
Ana’s Market was chosen for a city funded program called Healthy Retail SF, and Orozco and her husband Bayardo didn’t have to spend any of their own money, though they will have to commit to meeting certain requirements.
“The supervisor (District 11’s John Avalos) wants to improve the area, and we did a business assessment of Ana’s and the other store (RC’s Package House),” Gabriela Saap, a small business specialist in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said in an interview.
Ana’s Market now has the chance to become a healthy food retailer instead of just another corner store, and the city has channeled funds to not only upgrade equipment, but also to offer the Orozco’s advice on how to run a better business.
“Our overarching goal is to help small businesses become sustainable and increase healthy food options in the neighborhood,” Jorge Rivas, a project manager with the city’s Invest In Neighborhoods program said in an interview.
Healthy Retail SF is a division of Invest In Neighborhoods, which is itself a joint project of the mayor’s office and the Department of Public Health. A similar program by Invest In Neighborhoods has helped put in new signs and awnings on businesses along Mission Street in the Excelsior, for example.
“We want to benefit neighborhoods with better food choices, and also to help companies run a better business,” Sapp said. “It’s a national movement, really.”
Along with Ana’s Market, four other businesses were chosen for similar investments in San Francisco. Three are in the Tenderloin, and one is in Bayview. So far, however, only Ana’s has received the funds, and the city is doing needs assessments on the other stores now in the program.
New shelves and refrigerators have been installed at Ana’s Market at a cost of nearly $10,000, and the rest has gone into a new point of sale system and advice on things like produce handling. Additionally, the program is offering business advice on financial matters like lease strengthening and decreasing risk.
In order for corner store owners to get and keep the investments, they need to agree to develop a business plan and try to eliminate their debt, Rivas said. Consultants help them out with these issues, and it amounts to more than 30 hours of individual counseling, he said.
The other stores accepted are; Daldas Market at 200 Eddy St., Amigo Market at 500 Ellis St., Mid City Market at 868 Geary St., and Friendly Liquor at 1499 Thomas Ave.
Ana’s hosted a grand reopening party Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:00 a.m., to show off the changes.