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Mercato Seeks to Expand ‘Thriving Communities’ Program

E-commerce platform boosts healthy food access, grows small businesses in low-income areas
Mercato Effect Main Image
Through its Thriving Communities program, Mercato hopes to create what it calls the "Mercato effect," ultimately resulting in more jobs, higher sales for grocers, and dollars remaining within the community.

Mercato, an e-commerce platform for independent grocers, is looking to grow its new initiative to increase access to healthy foods and foster economic stability in low-income communities. The Thriving Communities program works with local governments, private funders and nonprofits to bring more grocers onto the e-grocery platform so they can digitize their inventory, offer delivery, and enable enrollment and use of SNAP online.

“As the son of an independent grocer in Brooklyn, I know firsthand how critical these independent, local grocers are to the economic and social well-being of their communities,” said Bobby Brannigan, CEO of San Diego-based Mercato. “They are the lifeline for so many residents to get fresh, healthy, culturally relevant foods without having to travel far or wait weeks to go to the market. By giving local grocers the tools and technologies to operate online, they can increase their own revenue and fuel healthier ecosystems throughout the country.” 

[Read more: "Grocery Initiatives Should Always Focus on Helping People"]

Last year, New York became the first city to partner with Mercato, leveraging Thriving Communities to test a technological pilot that offered subsidized groceries to a cohort of New Yorkers. 

“The pandemic challenged food security in unprecedented ways,” observed Kate MacKenzie, executive director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “Mercato’s innovative work piloting online grocery benefits [makes] healthy, affordable groceries accessible to all New Yorkers, no matter where they live. New York City is proud to innovate with technology and public benefits, and we are thrilled that Mercato recognizes this, too.”

“Getting onto the Mercato platform was game-changing for our store and our shoppers,” noted Gustavo Rodriguez of Key Food Stadium, in the borough of The Bronx. “Our sales are increasing literally every day, especially fresh produce, and the technology and service Mercato provides enables us to fulfill orders seamlessly and with the same personal attention and care that our shoppers need and deserve. It feels incredible to be feeding and helping low-income residents in our community.” 

Mercato is seeking to expand Thriving Communities by identifying and collaborating with partners in such other cities as Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Since Mercato’s launch in 2015, the company has brought more than 1,500 stores across the United States onto its platform.

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