The small corner stores known as tienditas are more than just a place to shop, they are neighborhood gathering places that bring communities together, and they have been hit hard by the crisis generated by the coronavirus.
But a private initiative called My Safe Store has been launched to help the stores gain customers’ trust and business. Supporters of the program include Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelēz México and PepsiCo together with Mexico’s Confederation of Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (Concanaco), and the Mexican Employers Federation (Coparmex).
“In Mexico, there are 1,200,000 small businesses and 700,000 are grocery stores. We have 700,000 shopkeepers who may be in danger,” says Luis Inchaustegui, director of the Institute for Social Research, noting that each business has an average of 2.5 families who depend on it for their livelihood, potentially putting 2.5 million families at risk.
According to the National Alliance of Small Merchants, more than 150,000 small businesses have closed in the last four months.
The initiative, which began in May, includes marketing campaigns and other tools to help shopkeepers keep their businesses up and running.
Coca-Cola México has produced and distributed 50,000 plastic partitions and more than 200,000 masks to help protect shopkeepers and their customers.
Stores also receive weekly information with information on topics such as how to change a store’s layout, ways to limit interactions with customers and suppliers, and the establishment of cleaning and hygiene protocols.
The initiative also advocates for using electronic payment terminals to avoid receiving cash, shorter business hours and the option of home delivery.
The program is currently operating in Mexico City, Tijuana, Monterrey, Mérida, Querétaro y Guadalajara, but could expand to other areas of the country in the future.