The MERC Co-op to Update Infrastructure and Public Areas (Lawrence, KS)


Affectionately called “The Merc” by locals, The Merc Co-op has been providing Lawrence, Kansas with fresh, healthy, and affordable food since 1974. This food cooperative started off as a volunteer-run buying club for natural food before the members opened up their first small grocery store in 1975. The co-op moved into its current space in 2001 where it established itself as a fixture in the community, supporting local organizations and participating in Food Assistance Programs like the Kansas Food Assistance Program and WIC.

The Merc has been successful and recognized for reaching underserved communities; in 2020, they partnered with Kansas City to open up a second store in the city’s downtown to provide access to affordable healthy food in a low-income, low-grocery access community. However, in spite of its strong following, the Co-op still faces increased competition from different specialty food stores and other grocery stores in their trade area.

In 2022, the Co-op shared its interest in updating its public areas and infrastructure. That July, we closed a loan line of credit for them to navigate these improvements.

We are proud of the work that coops like the Merc, and the work they are doing to serve their communities across the US. If you are a cooperative and are looking to finance your business, please check out the lending tab on our website. If you are interested in financing coops like the Merc, please check out our investors tab.