NYC, Mercato Team to Help Indie Grocers With E-Commerce
The City of New York has selected Mercato as the e-commerce platform that will link underserved Big Apple communities to local grocery stores. The partnership will enable select stores in all five New York City boroughs to begin offering groceries online and via local delivery — a service these stores haven’t been able to provide.
“As a native New Yorker and the son of an independent grocer in Brooklyn, I am excited to work with the city to support these neighborhood grocers and to announce Mercato’s commitment to improving access to quality food for residents of areas that were impacted by the COVID crisis while also providing these local retailers with a new sales channel,” noted Bobby Brannigan, CEO and founder of Mercato. “It’s really great to be able to support grocers who would not have otherwise had the resources to get on our platform if it weren’t for the support of City Hall and the NYCEDC.”
Born in Brooklyn, in 2015, San Diego-based Mercato now operates in 45 states. The company facilitates online ordering and delivery for more than 225 independent grocery and specialty food stores across the five boroughs, but it will now be assisting retailers in more marginalized neighborhoods.
“Putting equity at the center of the city’s recovery means ensuring New Yorkers have access to quality food that is healthy and affordable,” explained James Patchett, president and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corp. “The partnership with Mercato gives seniors and other groups at a higher-risk for COVID-19 a safer means to access food. At the same time, independent grocery stores and participating vendors at our public markets, which are serving hard-hit communities, can grow their business by building their digital presence. This effort, which invests in both people and local businesses, will create a stronger New York for all.”
“Communities across New York City -- and communities of color in particular -- deserve access to fresh, healthy and affordable food, and need it now more than ever,” added Anusha Venkataraman, co-chair of the Taskforce Subcommittee on Food Access & Insecurity, and NYC chief service officer. “I am proud of the taskforce’s work to expand and improve these important initiatives, and support local businesses in the process. Moreover, these options will help expand choice, including to culturally appropriate foods, so that New Yorkers can choose which foods they want to eat and feed their families.”
The initiative will permit customers to order from several stores at one time within each community, replicating the experience of shopping in person from store to store. The pilot program, currently underway, features independent grocery stores across the city in neighborhoods identified by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity. A number of participating stores are members of both the New York City Economic Development Corp.’s FRESH program and its Public Markets network. The city is waiving the typical $1,500 setup fee for these stores to get them operational more quickly and cost-effectively.
Mercato has been actively adding independent grocers during the pandemic, and is committed to working with retail partners in areas that need better access to food.
Once on Mercato’s platform, grocers can take advantage of ongoing consumer marketing campaigns that include digital advertising and email. According to the company, the average Mercato store sees a 100% increase in online sales within a few months of rollout.