How Do I Start a Wic Business?

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The special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, shortened to simply WIC, is a government program aimed at providing nutritious foods, nutrition counseling and referrals to health and social services for low-income pregnant, post-partum or breastfeeding women, as well as their infants and children up to age 5. WIC is available in all 50 states, as well as 34 Native American Tribal Organizations and the U.S. territories. The Food and Nutrition Service allocates funds to WIC state agencies, who then administer the vouchers to participating mothers and children. To accept WIC vouchers, you must become an authorized WIC vendor, which requires registration through the local WIC state agency.

Contact the state health services department or the state WIC program. These organizations operate websites from which you may download application packages, or you may request a package through the mail. These packages will outline all the necessary steps toward registering your business and becoming an authorized vendor.

Locate a suitable location for the store. Since on-site inspection is a required step in the application process, you must have a clean and usable space that has been stocked with requisite grocery-store fixtures, such as: cash registers, computers, telephones, refrigerators, security systems, display shelves and racks. Be sure to sign a lease for the space and have the lease ready for the application package.

Find suppliers to provide WIC goods. WIC-authorized goods include milk, cheese and cereal. Once you have found reliable suppliers with quality goods, sign contracts with them. The committee checking your application will want to see an infrastructure for your business in place.

Register the business and obtain necessary permits and licenses. Follow all laws and ordinances governing the sale of food items, and always stay in compliance with WIC guidelines.

Send completed application package to the state's WIC office. Reviews of WIC applications routinely take 90 days, so in the meantime schedule background checks, WIC-specific training and testing sessions and on-site inspection of your facilities. For an application to be approved, all these steps must be completed.

Receive your signed vendor agreement and begin processing WIC vouchers for WIC-approved goods.

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About the Author

Jared Beck began writing professionally in 2010 and contributes articles to his hometown newspaper. An how-to article writer, he specializes in sports, literature, film and politics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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