Little Red Box Grocery (LRB) is all about Good Food. For All. We're opening a small (real small) community market in Houston's historic Second Ward, an area that lacks ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Think of us as a neighborhood bodega meets curbside pick up - with a focus on community engagement and empowerment.
This will be our first true brick-and-mortar store and we’re excited to enter Houston in such a terrific location… right in the heart of the East End, just a couple miles outside of downtown and a block off the METROrail, in a refurbished 1940s multi-purpose building - a fixture of the Second Ward for generations - that now aims to be a hub of local and small retail and creative businesses.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT:
In Texas, and across the United States, rapidly densifying cities are forcing millions of families to overcome significant pain points just to get the good food that everyone needs (and deserves). And current market offerings are not designed to satisfy demand:
- Traditional grocery stores require too large a trade area, putting the burden of access on the consumer
- Grocery delivery options are designed and priced for more affluent areas and households
- Corner stores don’t have the technology or efficiency to scale, product assortment skews unhealthy, and what limited healthy items may exist come at a high cost
This unmet demand represents a widening chasm – a Market Gap and an Equity Gap – that disproportionately impacts historically marginalized communities, leaving residents vulnerable to greater health risks including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Yet it also presents an opportunity... to provide a fresh retail solution for the nearly 40 million Americans living in food deserts.
LRB fills these gaps by bringing an agile solution to an outdated model. We do so by focusing on:
- Convenience – meal solutions, pre-ordering capabilities, neighborhood curbside pickup/delivery
- Assortment – curated, healthier selection of fresh foods and grocery staples
- Value – competitive pricing by managing the mix; lower costs through a streamlined labor model
- Community Connection – establish trust; offer relevant, food-related education materials; host local events; prioritize community-based hiring
And while a handful of retailers have demonstrated success in this space, no one in Texas has tested the model with a predominantly low-income consumer base. At least, not until now…
OUR WORK TO DATE:
In June 2020, just as the pandemic was taking shape, LRB launched a pilot “store” in Galveston - less a store, more of a curbside pick-up spot - that provided nutritious and affordable food and meal kits throughout the pandemic (and various other weather-related curveballs) in an under-resourced community. Over time, we served thousands of customers, strengthened partnerships, tested (and re-tested) different approaches, all of which informed our efforts as we prepared to grow into Houston.
Now, with our new store build-out underway, we are looking to our friends & family & allies in the (food) fight to help give us a leg up...
LRB is raising $50,000 to open up shop in early 2022. Your support will go toward fixtures and cold storage, hiring local staff, engaging marketing support and community outreach, and providing seed funding for us to launch a SNAP Double Bucks program - where food stamp shoppers will receive 50% off certain items such as produce, meat, and dairy.
WHY LRB GROCERY?
This store will be grounded in a community-based approach to access, and is a key step toward an ultimate vision of building a good food system designed for our community, by our community. A system in which no one’s access to nutritious food is hindered by inconvenience, high cost, or poor choice. A system that recognizes local markets as a catalyst for innovation and investment. And one that proves food deserts do not have to exist if we let imagination and innovation prevail. If there was ever a time to prioritize access – and action – it is now.
Join Us, and thank you for your support!