First Lady Michelle Obama Visits SoCal Market

The store is designed to bring fresh food to underserved area.

By Yvonne Beltzer and Gordon Tokumatsu
|  Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012  |  Updated 2:40 PM PDT
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Mrs. Obama visited Gonzales Northgate market that is opening in Inglewood. It will give residents a place to buy fresh produce and healthy food

KNBC-TV

Mrs. Obama visited Gonzales Northgate market that is opening in Inglewood. It will give residents a place to buy fresh produce and healthy food

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In one of her final stops on her Southern California visit Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama dropped by a supermarket that is about to open in Inglewood.

People waiting to see Mrs. Obama outside the fence surrounding the market admitted there were few places to shop for fresh food in this underserved neighborhood. Cheryl Heard, an Inglewood resident who is a mother of two and a grandmother of three, said she knew all too well the challenges of grocery shopping in this area of Inglewood.

“It’s hard to find good quality, you know, nutritious food,” she said.

The new Northgate supermarket is about to open across the street from a donut shop and near a plethora of liquor and convenience stores.

“You know what it is? All fast food,” said Inglewood resident Alfonso Creda.

Heard admitted it was difficult to pick up nutritious food when the stores all around offered cheaper junk food alternatives. She admitted she found herself compromising all the time and hoped the new supermarket would make a difference.

A big “Coming Soon” sign hangs over the Inglewood store -- the latest in the growing Northgate chain.

The company has teamed up with non-profits to bring healthy food to underserved neighborhoods in Southern California and elsewhere.

The company itself is a great American story. It was founded by an immigrant family that came to Southern California from Mexico in the late 1960s.

They began with a small supermarket in Anaheim and kept growing, specializing in Latin American grocery goods. Their weekly ad posted on the Northgate website shows the chain specializes in providing fresh produce at reasonable prices as well as the same regular items available at other supermarket chains.

The difference is the Northgate chain is opening stores in communities where other supermarkets have left. That was why Mrs. Obama selected the Inglewood location to make some important points about her crusade against childhood obesity and encouraging Americans to eat a healthier diet.

“It’s a story about bringing fresh, healthy, affordable food into communities that need it the most,” she said, standing in front of a display of red, yellow and green peppers and other produce.

Northgate executives have teamed up with non-profits under Mrs. Obama’s “Fresh Works Fund” to change the way they serve neighborhoods nationwide.

A $200 million cash infusion will help them open some 1,500 stores nationwide.

The First Lady said it was all about giving parents options.

“If they want to pick up a head of lettuce to make a salad, they shouldn’t have to get on a bus.”


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