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An independently produced web series by Keep it Simple Productions, LLC, Bodega Makeover is a bold reinvention of the makeover series featuring communities around the United States that have largely been left behind by chain grocery and retailers. Bodegas and their owners are the soul and lifeblood of their urban neighborhoods. This series showcases their stories and thank them for being there when others weren’t by modernizing their storefront, helping to build relationships with new partners, and therefore breathing new life into the community.
The pandemic has underscored the disproportionate need and the urgency for accessible and healthy options in our racial and ethnically diverse communities. Bodegas have served in that critical role, and their importance has been recognized by the Bodega Makeover team, well before the pandemic.
Here are the current issues:
When you live a mile or more in distance from a supermarket/bodega, and have limited access to fresh produce, meats, and healthy foods. Food deserts contribute to the U.S. obesity epidemic. About 23.5 million people live in food deserts. Nearly half of them are also low-income. Approximately 2.3 million people (2.2% of all US households) live in low-income, rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a supermarket.
A place where unhealthy foods are more readily available than healthy foods. This includes foods that are dense in calories, high in sodium, and high in sugar.
Some Bodegas are not equipped to store, display or sell healthier food options properly. This prevents movement of inventory as well as a tendency to sell shelf-stable, nutrition-poor products.
The focus is to highlight the story of the bodega owners, local community residents, and organizations. Local community organizations and sponsors will assist with the bodega transformation. Physically transforming the bodega, while also providing the necessary training in areas such as economic development, marketing, and customer service, is the first step to successfully improving the community’s quality of life.
A refurbished bodega can:
- Attract more customers
- Increase community engagement
- Be better equipped to maintain fresh produce
- Serve as a brand advocate
- Create more jobs