As part of ShopRite’s Retail Dietitian team, Samantha Telle is one of over 120 Registered Dietitians who service ShopRite stores in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland. On Staten Island, Samantha Telle splits her time between all three ShopRite stores, and works with older adults to educate them about making healthy choices while food shopping, as well as carrying out these choices by preparing well-balanced meals. At ShopRite, she teaches a series of healthy cooking classes, shares delicious recipes, holds weight loss seminars, and conducts tours for shoppers who are looking to improve their health.
Why did you become an age-friendly business?
ShopRite created the Retail Dietitian Team to offer free, nutritional services and events in ShopRite stores throughout the month. Our programs focus on various groups and older adults are an important customer base. Helping our older adult customers have a positive experience shopping while making healthy choices is important to our store.
What are some of your unique age-friendly services?
I split my time between the three ShopRite stores on Staten Island, and all of the services I offer are complementary. I do store tours for both one-on-one appointments or groups visits from organizations such as senior centers and church groups. I often help people with specific health conditions figure out a way of eating that meets their health needs, as well as their budget. We provide programming such as healthy eating on a budget, recipes to cook for one, healthy eating as diabetic, and food sampling with recipes. We also have a helpful shelf tag system in the store where items that meet certain criteria, such as low sodium, heart healthy or high fiber etc. are labeled with different colored shelf tags.
I also work very closely with the local older adult service providers. The providers will call and set up a visit date. When an older adult group comes in I provide the educational programming and help any member of the group with questions as they shop. We offer a dedicated checkout line as well as a discount coupon for shopping. Older adults have options to take breaks and sit on benches near the pharmacy or just outside checkout. They can use scooter carts to navigate the store.
In addition to the older adult group visits, I offer free nutritional consultations. This a one-on-one appointment in which a person meets with me to discuss their individual nutrition questions and concerns. I take a full medical and diet history, calculate their calorie/nutrient needs and give them nutrition recommendations specific to them and their situation and together, we create a wellness plan for them. People can come once, or can choose to meet as much as they want to. I have several people that schedule follow up appointments one or twice a month. I especially recommend follow ups if someone is trying to lose weight, or has a chronic condition.
Would you recommend becoming age-friendly to other businesses?
Yes, it’s been a wonderful way for us to connect to our community, build relationships and provide great customer service to our older adults. We believe in helping our customers make healthier food choices. We believe in being a community partner and this program helps us serve the older adults in a positive way that makes an important difference in their lives.
For more information, or to set up an appointment with a retail dietitian near you, visit ShopRite.com.
Are you interested in making your business or community age-friendly?
Email us at AgefriendlyNYC@nyam.org to learn more about how we can help.