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Walgreens goes fresh in San Francisco food desert store

Expands selection in Bayview area location

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Friday announced the expansion of its fresh food selection at its location at Third Street and Williams Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview community, a neighborhood identified as a food desert. The drug store now offers a larger assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean protein and other healthy meal components.

The store is Walgreens' first location in the Bay area to undergo a redesign to accommodate the expanded food selection now termed "Food Oasis." The new layout includes approximately 500 sq. ft. of additional space dedicated to food items, an offering believed to be unprecedented in the city from a traditional retail drug store.

"As one of the top pharmacy, health and wellness resources in Bayview and throughout the city, we are pleased to be making this commitment to becoming a convenient source for wholesome food, along with other daily living needs residents here trust us for," stated Bill Hose, Walgreens market VP for Northern California. "Tackling the issue of healthy food accessibility is key to improving health outcomes in underserved communities. We believe our new offering will provide a level of access that will help many customers make improvements to their diet and help lay a foundation for basic disease prevention."

Walgreens marked the official grand reopening of the store at 5300 Third St. with a community celebration kicking off July 8 at 10:30 a.m. Mayor Edwin Lee, supervisor Malia Cohen and state senator Leland Yee joined Walgreens executives for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by such activities as a healthy cooking demonstration, health screenings, healthy food sampling and giveaways.

In addition to its Bayview location, Walgreens plans to have its expanded food selection available in food deserts in Oakland and Berkeley by the fall. The drug store chain launched its Food Oasis initiative in Chicago last summer with 11 stores across the city's south and west sides. Walgreens continues to review opportunities to bring the expanded offering to other food desert areas across the country.

"The response to this new offering in Chicago has been strong, and we are looking forward to having the same positive impact in more communities," Hose said. "No other retailer has more locations in America's underserved neighborhoods. That makes us well-positioned to play a larger role in addressing this important health need."

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