Smiley Movement logo

This grocery store lets you pay what you like

Words by Tess Becker

As the cost of living increases, people throughout the United States are stretched thinner by the day.

The housing crisis is already exacerbating the cost of living enough, and now people are struggling to make simple ends meet.

According to the USDA, in 2021, 13.5 million US households experienced food insecurity, meaning there were times when there wasn’t enough money to feed everyone in the family. 

MARSH Grocery in St. Louis wants to make the growing prices more palatable for the everyday shopper. When you shop there, you can pay what you like.

Pay what you like?

It’s not as simple as paying a few cents for a whole cart of groceries, but the grocery store lets people pay up to 20 percent less or more on items than the listed price opening up an affordable, high-quality food option in the area. 

Serving as a non-profit grocer, you might assume they struggle to break even – but apparently the option to pay more on grocery options nearly matches dollars lost making breaking even fairly easy.

“It feels like exactly what I hoped for, that we would create connections between relational economy, sustainability, climate resilience, community building, quality of life,” MARSH founder Beth Neff says.

“Even if we don’t yet sell enough food to say we made money at the end of the day, we’re certainly creating a foundation for those things.”

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs