The Merc Co+op’s Mission
The Merc Co+op provides our community a place to shop, gather, eat and learn by offering real food and sustainable products at reasonable prices through cooperative ownership and responsible commerce.
Ends articulate the results for which our organization exists, the recipients or beneficiaries of those results and the worth of the results. Our current Ends were authored by the Board of Directors in September of 2015.
The Merc Co+op will be a thriving consumer-owned cooperative in our region that is on the forefront of:
In 1974, a small group of Lawrencians acted on their shared passion for community access to whole foods and formed a volunteer-run, organized buying club distributing bulk foods out of Harry and Judy Kroeger’s house in Lawrence. The Community Mercantile was born!
The Seven Cooperative Principles
Co-ops are based on values not unlike those we subscribe to individually, including self-responsibility, democracy, equality, honesty and social responsibility.
In addition to these common values, seven basic international principles serve as guidelines to provide a democratic structure for co-ops around the world. While adoption of these principles is not required, most co-ops choose to adopt them for their business.
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
3. Members' Economic Participation
Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative's autonomy.
5. Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.
National Cooperative Grocers (NCG)
National Co+op Grocers (NCG) is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located throughout the United States. They represent 151 food co-ops operating over 200 stores in 38 states with combined annual sales of nearly $2 billion and over 1.3 million consumer-owners. NCG helps unify natural food co-ops in order to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-op owners and shoppers everywhere.
co+op stronger together
The Co+op, stronger together website represents NCG food co-ops nationwide and their shared commitment to providing delicious, high quality, healthy food; supporting local, sustainable agriculture; and strengthening local communities. With 143 independent food co-ops and over 190 storefronts in 38 states, NCG brings together a wealth of experience and passion for great food.