Mark Sprague

Mark Sprague, Board Candidate

Mark Sprague, Board Candidate

Current Employment and Work Experience

I work for The Villages Inc., which manages adolescent group homes outside of Topeka and Lawrence, as the Land Management Coordinator. I used to manage one of the houses. I also worked with adolescents at The Menninger Foundation for 20 years and ran a Handyman/Carpenter business for 10. I was elected to the City Council of Whiting, KS, and was treasure for Jefferson Co. RWD #2.

Previous Board Experience

I have been a member of The Merc Board of Directors since 2010 and served in the offices of President, Vice President, and Treasurer. During that time, The Merc has purchased the building it occupies, had a major remodel, a new roof, and gone solar. I have been a part the recent decision to another store. Each of these efforts have brought new learning about the role the board plays in protecting our investment as a cooperative while advancing and promoting the ideals of our collective.

What skills would you bring to The Merc Co+op's Board of Directors?

I have learned to read reports and audit sheets in order to monitor the progress made by The Merc’s General Manager in pursuing goals laid out in annual business plans and the fiscal health of our cooperative. I have the experience of doing this while working with other board members collaboratively to reach solid consensus decisions.

Why would you like to serve on The Merc Co+op's Board of Directors?

When I began shopping at The Community Mercantile, or The Merc, in 1974, my wife and I had become vegetarians and learned the impact of how food is grown has on health and environment. Working at a farmer owned CO-OP made me aware of the politics and economics of food production. We became regular shoppers of The Merc, very dependent on it’s bulk section. Even when we lived over an hour away, we made regular trips for essential items we could only get there.

I am an owner and a board member because it is vital to me The Merc continue to be here to serve our needs as owners and members of the community. A place that provides access to local healthy food, good employment, education and is a gem in our community.