MercShare and 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, MercShare and MercShare+ 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 Food Assistance Program* (formerly Food Stamps, SNAP) and/or Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are eligible for the MercShare ownership subsidy; and, co-op owners are eligible for MercShare+, a 10% discount on all purchases.
In 2007, a generous gift from the late Carol Nalbandian, an owner and board member, established the MercShare program. MercShare helps shoppers currently receiving food assistance experience the benefits of co-op ownership by providing a scholarship for a portion of the cost of a share in The Merc Co+op. MercShare applicants are responsible for making a one-time $10 investment towards ownership. 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.
Since 2007, MercShare has helped to fund over 180 owner shares for those who demonstrate financial hardship.
All co-op owners currently receiving food assistance (listed above) are also eligible for MercShare+, an everyday discount of 10% applied automatically each time they make a purchase.
Co-op owners currently enrolled in the Kansas Food Assistance Program* and/or WIC are eligible for our ownership subsidy and 10% everyday discount. To apply for MercShare and/or MercShare+, you will need the following:
- Completed MercShare/MercShare+ Application (available here and at our Customer Service Desk)
- Proof of qualifying benefits (letter, card or form from assistance program(s)
Complete the application and submit it with your proof of qualifying benefits to a co-op cashier or e-mail your materials to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your application will be processed within 7-10 business days.
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.
*EBT cash users do not qualify without additional proof of receiving Kansas Food Assistance Program benefits.