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New store selling fresh produce for north Baton Rouge community lacking grocery options

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BATON ROUGE - The Mayor's Geaux Get Healthy and Top Box Foods teamed up with the new SMS Grocery store at Plank and Mohican to offer fresh fruits and vegetables for the community.

It's all part of Top Box's Healthy Corner Store Collaborative. The initiative helps provide healthier food options in an area considered a food desert.

"Unfortunately it's been declared a food desert because there is not a big box retailer or what we would call a grocery store," said Brandon Gatlin, the community outreach director for Top Box Foods.

"We really don't have any convenience stores, the only convenience store we really have is Tony's Seafood," shopper Eric Rodney said.

Rodney has lived in the area for 40 years. He says trying to get a hold of quality food can be a challenge. And without access to a local grocery store, it forces him to travel miles away.

Officials hope the new partnership will quell the need for shoppers to go too far out of their way.

"It's a start. It's one part of the equation of offering fresh food options to communities and closing the grocery gap,"  Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.

SMS is not the only store participating in the healthy corner store, collaborative. Express Mart on North Foster and Winborne is providing similar options.

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