Project helps Latino mom-and-pop stores, restaurants offer healthy choices

University of Kansas community health and development research staff are on the ground in Wyandotte County helping build healthier communities one tienda — or neighborhood store — and restaurant at a time.

KU’s Work Group for Community Health and Development is enacting the Health for All Food Retail and Restaurant Initiative with the Kansas City-based Latino Health for All Coalition. The project aims to increase access to healthy foods at existing mom-and-pop stores and restaurants in neighborhoods where food retailers with fresh produce, eggs, whole grain and dairy products are scarce or nonexistent. Five stores and restaurants in the predominately Latino 66101 ZIP code joined the initiative in August, its first month of operation.

The effort to improve nutrition in Wyandotte Country is one of the health promotion strategies by the coalition’s Nutrition Action Committee with technical and scientific support from the Work Group. The ultimate goal is to reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease among Latinos in Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County who are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma and other health conditions.

Kelly Harrington, a community mobilizer with the KU Work Group, has assisted tienda owners Graciela Martinez, proprietor of Abarrotes Delicias at 3137 State Ave., and Irma Ruiz at El Poblano Mini Market at 1003 Osage Ave. in becoming Health for All Food Retailers. She advised them on product placement, pricing strategies and promotion through store signs and social media. She also helped the store owners locate a wholesale produce outlet and secured refrigerators and produce display units for them.

“We work with the owner or manager to develop a plan to incorporate more healthy food items in the store after we do an interview and store inventory,” Harrington said. “We then present them with several options that fit the goals and capacity of the store and agree on the required actions, timeline and resources that will hopefully boost their sales and attract new customers as well as increase opportunities for members of the community to choose healthy foods.”

These options include stocking cold bottled water at eye level in the soft drinks case, offering low-fat milk, eggs and whole-wheat tortillas, and prominently displaying and offering discounts on produce.

Martinez of Abarrotes Delicias even added her own personal endorsement to the Health for All display of fresh fruit in her store: “Tu cuerpo es tu más precida posesió asi que cuida de él” — “Your body is your most precious possession, take care of it.”

The Latino Health for All Coalition is also approaching Latino restaurant owners about becoming Health for All restaurants by encouraging changes such as labeling existing healthy menu items, offering more baked or broiled options and allowing customers to order half-servings at a reduced cost.

“We want to understand the impact that these changes have on the food environment,” said Vicki Collie-Akers, associate director of health promotion research for KU’s Work Group on Community Health and Development. “We will be examining how many people are reached or experience these changes and how these changes improve the overall landscape for accessing healthy foods in Kansas City, Kan.”

Launched by the KU Work Group in 2009 with 40 community partners, including El Centro, K-State Research and Extension and KU Medical Center, the Latino Health for All Coalition also promotes physical activity and access to health services to address Latino health disparities in Wyandotte County.

During its five-year history, the coalition has brought about more than 65 new programs, policies and practices in the low-income, predominately Latino areas of Wyandotte County, Collie-Akers said. Along with the Health for All Food Retail and Restaurant Initiative, the group has guided the creation of a community garden, four school and 25 residential gardens; conducted 84 nutrition education outreach sessions; launched physical activity classes at four churches; established a youth soccer league and converted an underutilized park space into a soccer field.

The Latino Health for All Coalition is funded by grants to the KU Work Group from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas Health Foundation, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the University of California–Los Angeles Health-by-Default REACH project.

– Story from University of Kansas

Two businesses, Jose Pepper’s and Eddie Bauer Outlet, to locate at Legends Outlets this fall

Legends Outlets in Kansas City, Kan., will add Jose Pepper’s Mexican restaurant and Eddie Bauer Outlet this fall.

Since its founding in 1988, Jose Pepper’s has grown to more than 13 restaurants in Kansas and Missouri with 25 years of experience creating Mexican food.

A new location of the Jose Pepper’s Mexican restaurant will open in Legends Outlets this November in the 6,200 square-foot space next to Cavender’s Western Outfitter at 1847 Village West Parkway, Suite K131.

According to its website, Eddie Bauer is “an active, outdoor company rooted in the Great Northwest . . . outfitting the world for almost 100 years, and are passionate about inspiring and enabling (customers) to get outside.” Established in 1920 in Seattle, Eddie Bauer is a specialty retailer that sells sportswear, outerwear, footwear, gear and accessories for the active outdoor lifestyle.

Eddie Bauer Outlet will open this November between J. Crew | crewcuts and OshKosh B’Gosh at 1813 Village West Parkway, Suite Q116, occupying 3,964 square-feet.

The Legends Outlets at I-70 and I-435 in Kansas City, Kan., has nearly 10 million visitors annually and 110 unique designer outlets, retail and dining options.

Eddie Bauer Outlet and Jose Pepper’s will join other recent additions, including the only area sweetFrog and Pizza Studio, Bath and Body Works, Woody’s Automotive concept, full-service Nail Envy spa and the Coach Factory pop-up location.

Other designer and outlet shopping options including the only area outlets featuring current fashions at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, J.Crew | crewcuts, Under Armour Factory House, Nike Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Tommy Hilfiger, Cole Haan and more. Dining and entertainment include the local Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen, STIX Sushi, the local Chiusano’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, Yard House Brewery and the only area Dave and Buster’s.

“We think our customers will love how these newest additions help round out and complement the incredible shopping, dining and personal services already available at Legends Outlets,” said Jessica Bachtel, marketing director of Legends Outlets Kansas City.

Sporting KC renews rivalry with Houston on Friday in KCK

Sporting Kansas City renews its rivalry with the Houston Dynamo on Friday in Kansas City, Kan.

The Eastern Conference match will kick off at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Additional coverage can be found on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM.

The match will mark the 50th consecutive MLS sellout at Sporting Park. A limited number of standing room only tickets remain available and can be purchased online at or at the Sporting Park Box Offices on Friday.

Sporting KC and the Dynamo have met on 15 occasions in all competition since 2011, making it the most played matchup among MLS teams over the last four seasons. Five of those 15 matches have come during the MLS Cup Playoffs, where the teams have met the past three seasons. The Dynamo eliminated Sporting KC in 2011 and 2012 before Peter Vermes’ squad prevailed 2-1 on aggregate in their journey to hoisting the 2013 MLS Cup trophy.

Sporting KC is 7-9-9 all-time against the Houston Dynamo in MLS competition (including playoffs), but is unbeaten in seven straight meetings dating back to 2012. During the seven-match unbeaten run against the Dynamo, Sporting KC has posted five clean sheets and allowed just two goals.

Sporting Kansas City and Houston have already met once in 2014. Sporting KC earned a 2-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium in June despite playing a man down for the majority of the match after referee Juan Guzman handed Sporting KC midfielder Antonio Dovale a straight red card.

Houston is 1-10-1 on the road this season with seven goals scored and 29 goals allowed, while Sporting KC is 5-2-6 at home this season. Both teams are coming off 3-0 losses in their most recent matches, but Sporting Kansas City remains only one point back of D.C. United for the Eastern Conference lead.

Friday’s match could feature up to four players who started for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis. Beasley started and played 90 minutes in his first three matches since joining Houston in late July, but the Designated Player missed Houston’s last match and is listed as questionable with a left hamstring strain.

Follow the match online at or via Twitter @SKCGameday.
– Story from Sporting KC