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Saving a business that's being killed by kindness

NBC's Today Show Main Street Makeover with Martin Lindstrom and Vancouver based Juice Group Advertising breathe new life into a struggling Baltimore corner store.

BALTIMORE, Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Once the measure of neighborhood America's commercial success, local corner stores are feeling the squeeze.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140822/138814)

Gone are the days of being a place to purchase necessities and greet your neighbor. Now big box super markets have moved in. And vast tracts of urban life have been turned into deserted ghettos.

In Baltimore, MD, NBC's Today Show found a corner store located in a food desert in Shipley Hill, one of the city's most economically depressed areas. The only corner store in the neighborhood, it is an essential part of the community. About 500 families live within a ¼ mile radius and the median household income: approximately $30,000.

Tony and Mary's Corner Store is known for the charity of its proprietor, Tony Lawrence. But this deeply religious man, who would rather give food away than see a child go to bed hungry, has been facing a downhill battle. And it's not just because times are tough. The store needed serious flooring repair work to hold refrigerators. It also needed access to fresh produce and a license to sell to mothers with young children on WIC food stamps. In short a healthy corner store food model needed to be created…in 1 week!

"We initially experienced serious doubts about the viability of this project in the time frame, but after finding a group of passionate local vendors, we decided to take on the challenge." says Juice Group co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Greenstein.

Juice Group, a sought-after boutique global brand agency operating out of Vancouver in Canada, spearheaded the creative end of the project. "We worked with Lindstrom to develop a guiding strategy to transform the store, and bring the ideas to life."

"We listened to the community and brought in necessities like fresh produce and frozen meats. Working with the Mayor's office, we accessed permits and foods to help change this store from a food desert, to a food oasis. In addition a loyalty program was introduced to reward healthy food purchases."

But will it work in the long run? Only time will tell. Today Show's Samantha Wender and anchor Erica Hill will be back in late September to report on progress. Meanwhile, catch the making of this Makeover on August 24th on NBC's Today Show.

Still needed for Tony's Corner Store: New bullet proof glass panels for the front booth and a security entrance door for the booth. Contact [email protected]

SOURCE Juice Group Advertising

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