Wednesday, January 9, 2013
In December, the NVRH A.T.O.D. Prevention Taskforce and students from St. Johnsbury Academy returned to the Eastern Main Market Deli to share results of the store audit conducted in November. One of the first things they noticed was the lack of advertising at the store for alcohol and tobacco products. There are no ads visible from the outside of the store. “St. Johnsbury has an ordinance that restricts all advertising on Main Street,” said Carole-Ann Mostroianni, co-owner. This was news to the group and they wondered why the ordinance existed. Abby Young from the Vermont Department of Health did some research and learned that the ordinance was put in place to protect the image of Main Street because it is a historical district.
Store owner, Eddie Poginy, spent time answering the students questions concerning why his store appeared different from some of the other stores they had visited. They only found two tobacco ads and one alcohol ad inside the store, compared to an average of six found in stores of similar size. Students also noticed that the store offered some healthier snack options, which were difficult to find in some other stores. “We choose not to put up a bunch of ads because we want our store to look a certain way. Contrary to what vendors told us, we have not seen sales decline, or suffer because we do not display their ads,” said Eddie.
The Eastern Main Market Deli agreed to partner with the NVRH Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Taskforce to encourage customers to make healthy choices. NVRH provided the store with a fruit stand which is located at the cash register so it is highly visible and convenient for customers. Pro health messages, asking customers what healthy choice they can make today are visible throughout the store.
Independent grocery store, convenience store, and gas station owners around the state are working together with community groups statewide to create retail environments that encourage healthier food and beverage choices and discourage tobacco and alcohol use.
To find out more about the program, contact NVRH Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Taskforce at (802) 748-7532 or R.Sheehan@nvrh.org.