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Supermarkets have positive impacts in underserved communities

The construction of full-service grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods throughout the U.S. is good for both business owners and members of the community. Not only can a retail franchise benefit from targeting local customers, but area residents also have the opportunity to access essential food products that are otherwise hard to find. Whereas people in low-income areas are often forced to travel long distances either by car, public transportation or bicycle to buy essential grocery and other items, the addition of new multi-purpose retail establishments increases community engagement and better serves the needs of individual residents. Money counters are a valuable tools for supermarket owners whose revenue often depends heavily on the ability to process small cash transactions.

Serving the needs of low-income areas
The availability of high-quality, affordable food has long been a problem afflicting poor neighborhoods of U.S. cities. In fact, The Wichita Eagle, a newspaper based in Wichita, Kan., recently cited a report from the local Health and Wellness Coalition that said there are 44 square miles worth of food deserts throughout the city. The newspaper defined such an area as any location that exists more than a mile from a full-service grocery store. Even though residents in these neighborhoods may live close to gas stations or convenience stores that sell food, such establishments don't count as supermarkets because they don't offer a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and other essential ingredients for living a healthy life. In many cases, they charge more money for food, as well.

"One of the reasons convenience stores charge more is that they don't sell as many bananas and have to cover the cost of loss," Sharon Johnson-Hakim, told The Eagle. "The data gives us a great picture of where we stand and opens the door for all the stakeholders - for not only the consumers but store owners, those who work in the stores and observe customer choices and policy makers."

New opportunities for cash payments
Residents of New Cassel, N.Y., recently celebrated the opening of an America's Food Basket franchise in one of its most underserved areas, according to the Long Island Newsday, an online news resource. The source said 17.5 percent of residents in the area live below the poverty line. Before construction of the new supermarket, many community members paid for taxis to access grocery stores in other surrounding cities. Those involved with the development of the America's Food Basket location in New Cassel said they expect the store to have a positive impact on the quality of life for nearby residents.

"When the supermarket becomes the draw, consumers stop going away from the neighborhood, and they start staying within the community," Dan Cabassa, chief executive of America's Food Basket, told Newsday.

Cash counters offer unique benefits for businesses that can expect a substantial amount of cash purchases on a daily basis. These tools can make it easier for store owners to count revenue at the end of the day while allowing store personnel to focus more on delivering quality customer service during business hours.

October 31, 2013