MercShare

At The Merc Co+op, we believe that everyone deserves access to healthy, high-quality foods and products that support a robust and sustainable local food economy as well as a community based on hospitality, generosity and care for the environment. As a consumer-owned co-op we welcome all community members to buy a share in the business and actively engage in the democratic business model. 

To further encourage and assist in that, the MercShare ownership subsidy and MercShare+ discount program was designed, allowing us to reduce the cost barriers to ownership and healthful eating, and to provide owners with practical solutions that don’t sacrifice their values or their budget. 

Co-op shoppers currently enrolled in the Kansas or Missouri Food Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps, SNAP) and/or Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are eligible for the MercShare ownership subsidy with an investment of just $10; and, co-op owners are eligible for MercShare+, an everyday 10% discount applied automatically on all purchases. The co-op subsidizes the additional $65 to complete the full $75 cost of a share in the co-op. MercShare owners receive the same rights and benefits as all other owners. 

Application

Non-Owners

To apply for ownership and the discount program, you will need the following:

  • Completed "Wanna Own a Grocery Store?" application (available in store)
  • Proof of qualifying benefits [letter, card or form from assistance program(s)]*
  • Register receipt documenting sale using a qualifying benefits card

Submit your application, documentation and receipt to a co-op cashier or e-mail your materials to ownerservices@themerc.coop. Your application will be processed within 5-7 business days and your co-op account will automatically begin granting the 10% discount on all purchases.

*EBT cash users do not qualify without additional proof of receiving Kansas Food Assistance Program benefits.

Current Owners

To apply or renew the discount program only, you will need the following:

  • Completed MercShare+ Application/Renewal form (available online and in store)
  • Proof of qualifying benefits [letter, card or form from assistance program(s)]*
  • Register receipt documenting sale using a qualifying benefits card

Submit your application, documentation and receipt to a co-op cashier or email your materials to ownerservices@themerc.coop. You application will be processed within 5-7 business days and your co-op account will automatically begin granting the 10% discount on all purchases.

*EBT cash users do not qualify without additional proof of receiving Kansas Food Assistance Program benefits.

Additional Information

Ownership shares are fully refundable at any time and the redemption value of the share is equal to the investment of the owner. Share redemption value is equal to applicant investment.

MercShare+ recipients must reapply for the 10% discount each year beginning one year from enrollment. At renewal, applicants must provide current proof of qualifying benefits.

Funding

In 2007, a generous gift from the late Carol Nalbandian, an owner and board member, established the MercShare program. Since 2007, MercShare has helped to fund over 200 owner shares for those who demonstrate financial hardship.

In addition to co-op funds, the employees of The Merc Co+op are the chief contributors, collectively donating the cost of one share every pay period. Several past recipients of MercShare have elected to voluntarily repay their ownership subsidy, and many owners include the MercShare program in their annual charitable giving. To donate to MercShare, speak with a co-op cashier.

Questions about MercShare and MercShare+

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