MOM’s Organic Market: A Retailer with A Mission
For MOM’s Organic Market, the Mid-Atlantic region's premier chain of family owned and operated organic grocery stores with 18 locations, selling organic produce is not just an option, it’s a mission.
The company touts its beginnings in the garage of Scott Nash’s mother in 1987 and it has stayed true to its roots ever since. The company only sells organic produce and stocks a higher volume of organic products than any other chain in the country. If an organic option isn’t available, their buyers employ a very rigid standard that bans more than 100 ingredients. MOM’s stopped using plastic bags more than a decade ago, banned bottled water in 2010, offers recycling opportunities for customers and employees, and donates more than $500,000 each year to local organizations that share MOM’s Purpose: to protect and restore the environment.
Chris Miller, Regional Coordinator for produce, meat, cheese, seafood, and bulk said at times it’s difficult to be a buyer and only sell Certified Organic produce and incorporate MOM’s mission when bringing in products, but, “I’m up for the challenge.”
Chris mentioned that their Purpose makes MOM’s much more than a grocery store, “Our customers know we’re environmentalist and with each curated item we’re trying to do good by the environment and that they can rely on us for the highest-quality options out there.”
Consistent with its environmentally-friendly philosophy, the retailer tries to limit the use of packaging, “Seven years ago we launched, Plastic Surgery, an initiative to reduce our plastic use throughout the company,” Miller said. “We stopped selling plastic bottled water and replaced many plastic items with alternative compostable options such as: produce bags, straws, cups, containers, reusuable bags, and more!”
MOM’s is a good gauge of the increasing popularity of organic foods as they continue to grow both by expanding same store sales and adding new stores. “We just opened our 18th store and we have another one in the works,” he said.
Miller notes the challenge in finding supply as the demand for organic produce increases. He said one main concern is that many organic items are still very seasonal as opposed to their conventional counterparts. He’d like to see more diversity in growing regions for organic produce to improve availability. Over the past 30 years, MOM’s has developed close relationships with many distributors and suppliers, who are working to close the gap between product availability and the increase in organic consumers.
Miller did attend the Organic Produce Summit in Monterey in July and said he “loved the show.” He said "It was great to have so many suppliers in one place, yet it still had the feel of a small, intimate show."
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