Houston, Texas (April 25, 2023) – Little Red Box Grocery (LRB), a community market located in Houston’s Second Ward, in partnership with Forage, Grocerist, and Texas’ Sustainable Food Center, today announced SNAP EBT (food stamps) as a payment option on its website; in addition to launching Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) in store, allowing SNAP recipients to double every dollar spent on fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.
Rapidly densifying cities, like Houston, mean more corner stores with unhealthy product assortment and less traditional grocery stores with fresh food. “Oftentimes, our customers are just coming in for one or two essential items - a loaf of bread, milk or some vegetables, and if we weren’t here, they tell us they’d need to take two buses to get to a store or they’d just go without,” says LRB owner, Samuel Newman. In addition to LRB, only four independent grocery stores in Texas provide online access to SNAP-EBT dependent families. “I believe implementing solutions like SNAP EBT online and Double Up Food Bucks will contribute to improving the health outcomes of Second Ward residents,” says Newman.
Online customers can browse LRB’s website for an assortment of fresh food and everyday staples, and upon checkout use their EBT card, while instore SNAP customers can double every dollar spent on fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. “With 14% of Texas households considered “food insecure,” (CBPP) it's never been more important to have community markets such as LRB. Our mission at the Sustainable Food Center is to transform the food system to nourish our health, land, and livelihood. By partnering with LRB we're able to increase the purchasing power of families on SNAP and expand access to fresh, nutritious food,” says SFC food access director, Hannah Thornton.
LRB’s partnership with Forage, a government benefits payment processor, and Grocerist, a grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, has allowed it to incorporate a technology-first approach to its grass-roots food retailing. “We want healthy, affordable groceries to be a reality for all families, and partnering with Grocerist, and enabling grocers like LRB, to accept SNAP EBT online gets us one step closer,” said Ofek Lavian, co-founder and CEO at Forage. “We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with independent grocers who are working tirelessly to combat food insecurity within their communities.”
“Grocery e-commerce has emerged as a lifeline for many consumers in areas without easy access to fresh, affordable food,” said Matt Smith, co-founder and COO at Grocerist. “Grocerist has helped many independent grocers build or improve their online presence. This project with LRB and Forage was particularly rewarding due to its incorporation of SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks, and its resulting impact on the local Houston community. We’re proud to be a part of it.”
About Little Red Box Grocery
Little Red Box Grocery (LRB) is a community market located in Houston's historic Second Ward. The store opened in May 2022 , and throughout the past year, this 650 sq-ft 'third place' has become a touchpoint for many families living in this diverse community who seek convenient access to fresh food, pantry essentials, and healthy meal kits. In addition to selling groceries, LRB partners with various community-based organizations in an effort to increase access to health and wellness activities and nutritional know-how. Little Red Box Grocery is located at 3401 Harrisburg Blvd Suite G, Houston, TX 77003. Visit their website at littleredboxgrocery.com
Forage is a payment processor making it easier for retailers to accept SNAP EBT (food stamps) and Cash EBT payments online. With its inhouse team of experts, Forage brings to the online EBT space a technology-first approach, offering cloud-based technology with retailer-friendly interfaces. Forage also provides end-to-end support with value-added services for retailers, including joint project managing the USDA application process for online EBT authorization, and providing go-to-market services, advising and supporting retailers on how to build a meaningful EBT business and positive customer experience. Forage’s founders created the company to increase access to food by enabling consumers to use their government benefits online. Forage works with multiple grocers and platforms such as Shopify and Flashfood to accept SNAP EBT payments online. For more information visit joinforage.com.
Grocerist makes e-commerce profitable for grocers, with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, the world’s largest e-commerce platform. Grocerist gives merchants an e-commerce store at their own URL with all the functionality offered by their largest competitors, pick/pack technology that reduces store operating costs, a national delivery partner, control over pickup/delivery fees, low credit-card processing fees, white-glove guidance through the online SNAP application, and ongoing email, search and social media marketing support. Grocerist’s mission is to help the independent grocer use online to drive profit - both online and in-store. Learn more at grocerist.com.
About Sustainable Food Center
Sustainable Food Center supports a just, equitable food system where everyone can conveniently access fresh, nutritious, culturally significant foods raised with care for people and the environment. Our flagship food access program, Double Up Food Bucks, provides a dollar-for-dollar match on produce purchased with federal nutrition benefits. Through partnerships with regional organizations, this program is now available in more than 55 locations across the state. Our programs focus on capacity-building and matchmaking for small and midsized farmers, cooking and nutrition education, and food systems advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. Through our systems-based approach that centers community-driven solutions, Sustainable Food Center works to expand access to nutritious, high quality, local food in Texas.