Each generation attempts to improve upon the accomplishments of those that preceded it. For Kelli Jackson, this meant taking the corner store that her father ran for 25 years and evolving it to meet the current needs of its south Los Angeles neighborhood.
“The most important question was reimagining spaces and the place,” Jackson says. “The question for me started being: What can a corner store be?”
Hank’s Mini Market has been a local staple in the Hyde Park community for the past three decades. After her father retired, Jackson, who has a background in public art, felt compelled to take over. But she had a different vision than her dad, one that included healthful and fresh foods. Hank’s Mini Market sits in a food desert, where residents are forced to pick from a small selection of fast-food restaurants for their eating needs. So Jackson partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, a group that seeks to increase access to “good food” in underserved communities, on what the council calls a transformation project.
Cause-driven restaurant chain Sweetgreen sponsored the remodel and provided its design and marketing prowess. Its team members helped remodel the store with bright colors and merchandising that puts fresh produce front and center.
The store also includes a meeting area where everyone from local groups to local kids can hang out. Two months after the grand opening, Jackson sees her community responding to the new Hank’s—and she’s seeing new customers as well.
“Sometimes people think in these underserved areas, they don’t want good food or will [not] purchase produce,” Jackson says. “But the store is showing that’s exactly what people want.”
The newly remodeled Hank's quenches the south L.A. food desert with healthy food and a gathering space for locals.
Photograph courtesy of Sweetgreen