The Proof is in the Produce! New CO4F Results Point Toward Success

Credit: CHFA and Scott Dressel-Martin
Credit: CHFA and Scott Dressel-Martin

Since its inception, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) has financed 23 fresh food retailers in both urban and rural communities throughout Colorado. CO4F was established in 2013 to help increase access to healthy foods by providing favorable financing for grocers and other healthy food retailers. A recently completed third-party evaluation by the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health, Research & Evaluation shows the impact CO4F has had on improving healthy food access throughout the State.

Over the course of two years, the evaluation team conducted in-depth interviews with CO4F stakeholders and CO4F-supported store owners, in addition to surveying hundreds of store shoppers.

Key Findings:

  • 89 percent of shoppers said that since CO4F invested in their community, they have had better access to healthy food.
  • 71 percent noticed a change in what the CO4F-funded store had to offer.
  • Over 70 percent of shoppers said the CO4F-funded store now sells their preferred fruits and vegetables.
  • Low income and rural customers were the most likely to report that their access to fresh food had improved after CO4F investments. 90 percent of low income shoppers and 92 percent of rural shoppers reported improved access to fresh foods.

“People come in every day and tell us thank you. Thank you for opening the store. Thank you forcarrying such good products.” – CO4F-supported store owner

About CO4F

CO4F provides favorable loans, and limited grants, to projects that enhance and retain fresh food retail in underserved areas of Colorado. Funds may be used for business start-up and expansion costs, opening a new store, keeping a store open under new ownership, equipment upgrades for existing stores, and innovative fresh food retail concepts.

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) serves as CO4F’s administrator and provides the program’s larger loans and grants. Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides the program’s smaller loans. Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) provides outreach and technical assistance for applicants. CO4F funding is provided by The Colorado Health Foundation, The Piton Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and The Colorado Trust.

Roles for Municipalities

If your community is interested in attracting new healthy food retail, here are some ways we can work together:
Provide information about CO4F to permit applicants, new enterprise inquiries or developers.

  • Convene a meeting for CO4F representatives to come share information about this resource.
  • Identify viable site(s) for new food retail. CO4F can develop a site profile geared toward attracting an operator and work with you to pre-qualify the site.
  • Partner on financing (e.g. tax increment, waivers, façade grants)

For more information about CO4F, please contact Erin Lyng with Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.) 720-519-0535 or visit the CO4F website https://www.chfainfo.com/co4f.