How to Start a WIC Store
Are you someone who wants to become an authorized vendor for the government's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)?
Prepare and apply to become a store owner where WIC customers can redeem their food vouchers. Learn from our guide the basics of how to start a WIC store.
To improve the health of women, infant and children from low-income families, the U.S. government created a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Under the program, participants are given vouchers that they can use to get nutritious food items such as milk, cheese, and cereal. These vouchers can only be redeemed at WIC stores. If you are someone who wants to serve this market, you can start a WIC store.
The basics of starting a WIC store is much like starting a regular grocery or retail store. The difference is you have to make sure you are selling WIC approved items. Then you have to apply and pass the requirements in operating a WIC store in order to be authorized as a WIC vendor. Here are some steps you will have take to open a WIC store:
- Look for the Web site of your health services department or your state WIC program and read all pertinent information on how to apply and get authorized as a WIC vendor.
- Download the application package and pay particular attention to what basic items WIC stores are required to have in order to be authorized.
- Find: a suitable location for the store, suppliers with which you can source your inventory for WIC authorized food, and businesses that sell or rent out grocery store fixtures.
- Incorporate your business or register it. Get the necessary permits and licenses in operating a grocery store.
- Enter into a lease agreement for a store space, and enter into contracts with suppliers.
- Refit the store and furnish it with fixtures (cash registers, computer, telephone, security system, refrigerators, display racks and shelves) as well as goods that you will sell. Properly display your business permits and licenses.
- Open your store and start operation. Make sure to comply with all retailing laws and ordinances and maintain a clean record in preparation for your application to become a WIC authorized vendor.
- Come up with all the requirements specified in the application package and send your application to your state’s WIC office.
- Wait while the office review your application and schedule you for background check (integrity check), training, testing, and on-site inspection.
- If all goes well, you will receive a signed, executed vendor agreement that will allow you to entertain WIC food vouchers.
In order to be approved as a WIC vendor, make sure to send a properly filled and completed application to avoid delays in approval, which usually takes at least three months.
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