Store in San Francisco's Tenderloin offers fresh produce, no alcohol

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is a big push to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a low-income neighborhood which has dozens of liquor stores, but, doesn't have a full service supermarket. It's happening in the Tenderloin District in San Francisco. A store owner is leading the way and is being honored for his leadership.

"This changes every day," said Fadhl Radman. "Whatever is on the market, we put part of it out here."

Radman owns a beautiful grocery store called Radman's Produce Market that would fit in any neighborhood.

The store has great signage outside and glass doors that allow potential customers to see what's inside -- lots of organic fresh fruits and vegetables and shelves stocked with healthy food. And he just expanded to include a brand new area for fresh meats. But you won't find any alcohol sales here. That's almost unheard of in this neighborhood.

This undated image, Fadhl Radman shows off part of the produce section in Radman's Produce Market in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

This is the Tenderloin. It's one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in San Francisco. There are more than 70 liquor stores in a square mile area.

"You step outside the store, to the left or the right, there are stores all over and they are liquor stores," Radman said.

He is the first food store owner to work with the Healthy Corner Store Coalition, founded by the nonprofit Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, TNDC for short.

Radman, a father of seven from Yemen, doesn't drink. He wants to serve his community well. So he partnered with the coalition to revamp his store inside and out, and they even helped with marketing.

"They offered new shelving so we put new fixtures in the store,' he said. "All these fixtures are new. In return, we got more fruits and vegetables, displayed in there, dried and fresh."

Most people here don't have cars. They take the bus or a cab if they can afford it. That's why TNDC's work is so important.

It owns 30 apartment buildings in the Tenderloin, providing low-income housing for people like mother Morena Perez. Radman's is a gift for her. She doesn't have a car, so shopping for her family is challenging.

"(I) take the bus with my kids and when I come back with three or four bags. Now it's, wow! I'm so excited!" she said.

"I'm thrilled with Radman's, with everything he's put together here," said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk. "Not only for the great food he's delivering, but also as a model, pioneer, as a trailblazer to show other people this is possible."

There is a powerful economic incentive to keep business in the Tenderloin.

"If you extrapolate $50 a month per household for the entire population of the Tenderloin it comes to a little over $900,000 a month," said TNDC community organizer Ryan Thayer. "That's over $10 million a year leaving the neighborhood."

Thayer works with local residents to find solutions for access to healthier food.

This undated image shows the meat section of Radman's Produce Market in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood.

Tenderloin residents are discovering Radman's fresh approach, but it takes time. He does run another business to help support his family. Even so, he encourages other store owners to join his effort.

"Our sales are going up (from) fruits and vegetables," he said. "They continue to grow and we are very happy about that. I feel very satisfied."

Radman will be honored at the annual fundraising event for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation Tuesday night.

To learn more about the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition, click here.

To learn more about the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, click here.
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