Mercato has been selected by the City of New York to become the eCommerce marketplace that will connect underserved NYC communities to local independent supermarkets. Through this partnership, select stores in all five boroughs will begin offering their inventory online and via local delivery – a functionality these stores weren’t previously equipped with.
According to a press release, the City’s arrangement with Mercato will allow customers to order from several stores at once within each neighborhood, replicating the experience of shopping in person from store to store.
The City of New York is waiving the set-up fee for these stores, typically valued at $1,500, to get them up and running faster and more cost-effectively.
“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,” said 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 New York City Economic Development Corporation.”
The pilot program, which is now underway, includes independent supermarkets located in neighborhoods, identified by the Mayor’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, across the city including Harlem, Mott Haven, Brownsville, Hollis, Richmond Hill, Stapleton, and others, Mercato said in a statement.
Abasto Media reached out to the National Supermarkets Association (NSA), the largest Hispanic independent supermarket organization in New York, for their opinion on this pilot program that seeks to equip grocery stores with online ordering and delivery services. home shopping.
“As an independent grocery store owner, I always like to give my customers all the options that are available to us and our communities,” said NSA President William Rodriguez.
However, Rodríguez said that so far, his association has not been invited to participate in this program. “As president of the NSA, the largest association of independent supermarkets in the New York metropolitan area, I would like to reach out to Mercato executives and offer a direct platform to more than 400 supermarkets.”
A number of participating stores are members of both the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) FRESH program and its Public Markets network.
This partnership is designed to empower stores 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,” said James Patchett, President and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation.
“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,” added Patchett.
Mercato was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 2015 and the company currently operates in 45 states nationwide. Mercato facilitates online ordering and delivery for more than 225 independent grocery and specialty food stores across New York City’s five boroughs.
“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,” said Anusha Venkataraman, co-chair of the Taskforce subcommittee on Food Access & Insecurity and NYC Chief Service Officer.
Built upon a mission of supporting independent supermarkets, Mercato has been actively onboarding grocers during the COVID-19 crisis. The company, which equips stores with clean and seamless online ordering and delivery functionality, is committed to onboarding independent grocers in areas that need improved access to food.
Once on Mercato’s platform, these newly added independent supermarkets will benefit from the company’s ongoing consumer marketing campaigns which include digital advertising, email, and more. The average Mercato store sees a 100% increase in online sales within a few months of launch.