[Photo credit: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.]
We reported on July 7, 2010 in this story - Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Start Accepting WIC Vouchers at Central & Adams Store in South Los Angeles This Month - that the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market store at 1025 East Adams in South Los Angeles, California (pictured at top) would start accepting WIC Vouchers (Woman, Infant & Children Program) this month.
We can now report that the store, located at Central and Adams in South Angeles, will start accepting WIC Vouchers on Thursday, July 29.
Additionally, Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will start excepting WIC Vouchers at numerous other Fresh & Easy grocery stores in California - including additional units in Southern California, as well as at stores in the Bakersfield and Fresno regions in the Central Valley - starting 30-45 days after the South Los Angeles store's July 29 start date, Fresh & Easy Buzz has learned. The current internal target date is to have some of the additional stores accepting the vouchers one month from July 29.
Interestingly, read what we wrote in the three paragraphs (in italics) below, from our July 7, 2010 story:
According to our sources, the south Los Angeles store will be the only one of Tesco's current 159 Fresh & Easy stores that will accept the WIC Vouchers for a while. Sort of a test. But if all goes well - and it should since 99% of the grocery stores in California have been accepting WIC Vouchers for as long as the program has existed - its likely Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market will then start accepting the vouchers in some of its other stores, beginning with those in low-income neighborhoods like in Compton.
Were we Fresh & Easy, we wouldn't wait very long to roll out the acceptance of WIC to all 159 stores. Why wait? It's an accepted method of payment to nearly all grocers in the United States. A number of convenience stores even accept WIC, as do a growing number of farmers markets.
In fact, we suspect once Fresh & Easy sees the nice sales boost it gets at the Central & Adams store on WIC-eligible items (and thus an overall store sales boost) like infant formula, whole milk, juice, eggs, cheese, whole grain breads and cereals, peanut butter, beans and legumes, fresh produce and more, it just might (or at least should) want to accept WIC right away at its other stores.
The Central and East Adams Fresh & Easy market in South Los Angeles will be the first store in the chain of 159 units to accept WIC Vouchers, as we've previously reported.
Including the Bakersfield and Fresno regions in the WIC Voucher-acceptance roll out will benefit Fresh & Easy in the form of added sales at the stores it designates to accept WIC in the two Central Valley regions. In fact, as we've said since 2008, the fresh food and grocery chain should accept WIC at every one of its stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.
Based on a recent analysis we completed of WIC usage patterns at grocery stores in the Central Valley region, we believe Fresh & Easy could increase its overall sales in the Fresno and Bakersfield regions by at least 5% overall by accepting WIC at all the stores.
California's Central Valley has been one of the hardest hit regions in the U.S. in terms of high unemployment and added poverty since the recession hit three years ago. For example, the unemployment rate in the region currently ranges from 15% -to- 20%, depending on the county. That's compared to an overall rate of 12.6% in California. Much of the Central Valley, like South Los Angeles (and other parts of Southern California), also suffers from high non-recession rates of poverty.
Additionally, the Central Valley, including the Bakersfield and Fresno regions, has among the highest percentage of WIC Voucher users in California. The vouchers are distributed by California WIC to low income mothers who qualify. WIC Vouchers can only be used to purchase specific healthy and nutritious food and beverage items, such as infant formula, whole milk, whole grain bread and cereals, juices, fresh produce and other similar items. Learn more about California WIC here.
Every state in the U.S., including Nevada and Arizona where the other Fresh & Easy stores are located, has a program similar to California WIC. Funding for WIC Vouchers is provided to the states primarily by the U.S. Federal Government.
South Los Angeles has a high percentage of WIC Voucher users, as noted in numerous past stories on the topic in Fresh & Easy Buzz.
In fact, employees at the Central and Adams neighborhood Fresh & Easy, which opened in February of this year, for the last five months have regularly had to explain to the numerous customers with WIC Vouchers, that the store - and Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market - doesn't except WIC. Beginning on July 27 the store workers at the South Los Angeles Fresh & Easy market will no longer have to do so. [See - February 23, 2010: Food Deserts & WIC Vouchers: Half A Loaf For the New Fresh & Easy Store Opening Tomorrow in South Los Angeles and February 24, 2010: Fresh & Easy Store Opens its Doors in South Los Angeles
[Editor's Note: Nearly three years ago, Fresh & Easy Buzz first pointed out and reported on the fact that Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, which opened its first stores in November 2007, didn't accept WIC Vouchers.
Additionally, in analysis and commentary pieces beginning in 2008 - and right up until the grocer decided to accept the vouchers at its first store, which will be the Central and Adams unit in South Los Angeles, on July 29 - we've also pointed out in detail how, from both business (added sales) and ethical grocer perspectives, Fresh & Easy was missing the boat by not accepting WIC in its stores. [Suggested reading: September 7, 2008: Analysis & Commentary: Should Tesco's Fresh & Easy Put An Asterisk Next to its Motto? Yes; Unless it Corrects Four Operational Omissions and December 29, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy, 'Food Deserts' and WIC Vouchers; A 'Year-End' Analysis & Commentary]
Below is a selection of some of those past, and related, stories from Fresh & Easy Buzz:
July 7, 2010: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market to Start Accepting WIC Vouchers at Central & Adams Store in South Los Angeles This Month
September 7, 2008: Analysis & Commentary: Should Tesco's Fresh & Easy Put An Asterisk Next to its Motto? Yes; Unless it Corrects Four Operational Omissions.
December 29, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy, 'Food Deserts' and WIC Vouchers; A 'Year-End' Analysis & Commentary
February 10, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Opens Latest New Store in 'Food Desert' City of Compton, California
July 2008: Tesco's to Open A Fresh & Easy Grocery Market in Low Income, Underserved South Central Los Angeles Neighborhood
March 7, 2009: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track
July 11, 2008: 'Food Desert' Neighborhoods and Southern California: More on the Fresh & Easy Store Planned For South Central Los Angeles
July 15, 2008: Fresh Food to Bloom in An Inner-City Food Desert: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Breaks Ground For New Store in Underserved South Los Angeles Neighborhood
February 23, 2010: Food Deserts & WIC Vouchers: Half A Loaf For the New Fresh & Easy Store Opening Tomorrow in South Los Angeles
February 24, 2010: Fresh & Easy Store Opens its Doors in South Los Angeles
April 22, 2010: Breaking Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy to Accept WIC Vouchers at its East Adams Store in South Los Angeles
May 14, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Not Yet Accepting WIC Vouchers at South L.A. Store; No Start Date Set
July 6, 2008: Former NBA Great Earvin 'Magic' Johnson is Working His Business Magic in Urban, Inner City Neighborhoods; We Offer An Idea For Tesco's Fresh & Easy
May 12, 2008: Food Deserts: Coalition to Create 'Blue Ribbon' Commission, Draft Report to Encourage Grocers to Open Stores in Underserved Los Angeles Neighborhoods
February 13, 2008: Leading Democratic Candidate for President Barack Obama Joins Group in Asking Tesco's Fresh & Easy to Put More Stores in Underserved Neighborhoods
June 3, 2008: Fresh & Easy Buzz Redux: Barack Obama to Tesco's Fresh & Easy in Our February 13 Piece: 'Build More Stores in Underserved Neighborhoods'
September 23, 2008: Food Retailing, Society & Economics: 'Food Deserts' and Public Health
March 20, 2009: Federal Government Spending Bill Increases WIC Voucher Program Dollars by $1.2 Billion; 21 Percent Increase
May 28, 2008: Las Vegas Market Report: A 'Food Desert' Neighborhood to Get A New Grocery Store; But it's Not A Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
April 27, 2008: New Study Points to Increasing Urban 'Food Deserts' In North America: Locating Stores in 'Food Deserts' A Part of Fresh & Easy's Strategy
March 7, 2008: Former NBA All-Star and Sacramento Native Kevin Johnson is the Driving Force Behind a Fresh & Easy Market in Sacramento's Oak Park Neighborhood
July 29, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy and San Francisco's Tenderloin Redux: Upcoming Developments Offer First Mover Opportunity For Fresh & Easy or Competitors
You can read additional stories on the topic from the archives here