San Antonio.- Like riding the bus or being on unemployment assistance there is usually a stigma attached. In any event the stigma is unwarranted and is a clear sign of ignorance. Just because someone is down on their luck or needs some help is no reason to discriminate.
Owner of JC Food Marts, John Callanan set out 17 years ago to do away with stereotypes and create a place for those with WIC benefits to shop without the fear of discrimination or feeling they business was not appreciated.
JC Food Marts carry products in their stores that are all WIC approved so that customers don’t have to scour the isles of larger chains to find items they can use their benefits toward.
“We offer a service that is not really offered in other grocery stores to WIC cliental—we’re just a little friendlier, a little faster and we provide an education about the products that maybe they can’t find at other stores,” Callanan said.
In addition, Callanan’s stores are normally located very close to the clinics in which those that obtain WIC benefits can access. In the eyes of Callanan it’s all about convenience and making their customers feel welcome he mentioned.
“We are usually located in close proximity to where the clinic is where they issue the benefits for the cards so that way it’s convenient,” Callanan explained. “Sometimes they are on the bus and come for their appointment to get their benefits so then they can pop into the store and get there product without having to take another bus to the store and get their products.”
“That’s why convenience is a big part of our business and proximity to the clinic helps with those people who do have to take the bus or depend on rides,” he added.
Today JC Food Mart is located in seven different parts of the city in order to make it suitable for those with WIC benefits needing groceries to get to the store headache free.
As larger competitors make it difficult for JC Food Marts they don’t offer the grass-roots feel good approach that Callanan has passed to his employees from his early days when he was mopping the floors and taking out the trash himself.
“It’s good to be able to offer the opportunity to make their life a little easier. Everyone’s life is busy these days, a lot is going on especially when you have young children and if you’re a younger mother there is so many things thrown at you in society. We make their lives just a small bit easier so they don’t have to go to the large grocery store and try to figure out what is WIC authorized.”