Rural community convinces dollar store to stock fresh produce

(05/25/23) CROWVILLE, La. — Nestled in Franklin Parish, the small community of Crowville, Louisiana, has one corner store, one restaurant and one dollar store — but no grocery store.

Before last summer, residents who wanted fresh fruits and vegetables had to travel to neighboring Winnsboro. Thanks to a group of passionate community leaders, the local Dollar General now features a produce section.

During a community forum in April 2022 hosted by LSU AgCenter nutrition agent Quincy Vidrine, residents said the lack of access to healthful foods was their No. 1 health challenge.

After the forum, Friends of Crowville organized a campaign to petition Dollar General to stock fresh produce and healthful snack options at the store. The group, made up of local leaders, wrote letters, sent emails and made phone calls until Dollar General agreed to add a produce section.

“In July of 2022, they remodeled our store and provided us with fresh produce and fruits and vegetables as well as salads and yogurts,” said Nick Poulos, Friends of Crowville representative. “Dollar General didn’t have to worry about spoilage because every time they would stock it, within two days, the shelves would be bare. They are now up to stocking it two days a week, and it’s still bare after a couple of days. So I believe they’re trying to go to three days a week.”

Now that the store features healthier options, Vidrine worked with its manager and Friends of Crowville to implement the AgCenter’s new Geaux Shop Healthy program. The program highlights healthful options and provides shoppers with nutritious recipes and money-saving shopping tips.

“I believe that the greatest impact will be just to show people that there is a healthier alternative to the foods that they have been consuming,” Poulos said. “Sometimes it’s just as simple as giving them a healthier option.”

Vidrine said the Crowville Dollar General currently sells about 1,000 gallons of milk a week. The group’s goal is to make at least 25% of that milk low fat by the end of the summer.

For more information, contact Vidrine at

Three people standing in aisle of a store.

LSU AgCenter nutrition agent Quincy Vidrine, center, poses with Friends of Crowville representatives Nick Poulos, right, and Renee Ward, left, next to a Geaux Shop Healthy aisle sign at Dollar General in Crowville. Photo by Ruthie Losavio/LSU AgCenter

Fresh tomatoes and a sign on a store shelf.

Geaux Shop Healthy “shelf talkers” feature healthy nudges throughout partner stores. Photo by Ruthie Losavio/LSU AgCenter

5/25/2023 3:41:58 PM
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