Customers are often pleasantly surprised when they visit Murray’s Utah Co-op for the first time. Mercedes Zel’ Pappas, founder and operator of the co-op, explains, “We take care of our own here. And everyone at the co-op is our own.”
Because of this philosophy, customers experience an old-fashioned level of service. Zel’ Pappas knows each of her visitors by name and treats them like family.
Zel’ Pappas offers the public an alternative to large grocery store chains. Her food is sourced locally, benefiting local farmers by purchasing the results of their hard work. The food is bought at a price determined by the farms rather than by negotiating its value. Co-op volunteers also save the farmers’ labor costs by harvesting the produce and cleaning up afterwards.
“When people shop here, they don’t have to worry about prices changing, Zel’ Pappas says. “Everything is charged on a per item basis versus a by weight basis,.”
While her goal is to introduce healthy, 100 percent organic food at an affordable price, Zel’ Pappas has also created a successful, socially responsible business model.
The co-op provides $1 million in-kind donations to the community annually. Jewelry purchased at the store helps provide meals for the homeless.
During the holidays, the organization ‘adopts’ 1,500 children, seniors and special-needs residents for an ‘angel’ program. The co-op offers assistance to anyone unable to afford food. “There are times when we will do ‘doorbell’ food drops to people going through hard times, just so they know they will be okay,” says Zel’ Pappas. She believes the co-op is a force for good that can help solidify a growing sense of humanity and community in Utah.
Address: 291 E. 4500 South Murray, UT 84107
Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The Utah Co-op is open to the public and may be visited at 291 E 4500 South in Murray.
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