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Colorado Springs mom starts a one-woman pop-up grocery store to serve food deserts

It’s a Saturday morning and Elena Salinas is sitting outside a Colorado Springs furniture store. She’s not selling things to fill your home, but things to fill your belly.

Her table is covered with loaves of bread and eggs and mushrooms and apples. She says she’s here in case you couldn’t make it to the grocery store or the farmers market.

She knows the feeling.

When she moved to Colorado Springs from Aurora in 2016, Salinas and her husband had jobs and cars. Soon, they both found themselves without cars and without a job. And their second child was on the way.

The stay-at-home mom remembers lots of struggles from that time. One of the biggest? Buying food for her family.

She had to find a way to get to a grocery store from her neighborhood in Deerfield Hills, which she calls a food desert. The closest grocery store is a 15 minute-drive from her two-bedroom apartment. It was challenging once she got to the store, too.

“We’re raising two kids on one income,” Salinas said. “It’s really hard to go grocery shopping and try to pick out the right food. You want it to be healthy. But it costs so much.”

She soon started conducting informal surveys in her neighborhood, asking people about their experiences with food shopping.

“I wasn’t the only one trying to feed their kids well and not being able to afford it,” she said. “I wasn’t the only one putting groceries back at the register.”

Salinas decided to do something about it. She signed up forTHRIVE Network, a nonprofit that hosts a 10-month business education program meant to revitalize southeast Colorado Springs through entrepreneurship.

This year, she started a pop-up grocery store called “A Fresh Move.”

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