Skip to main content

Community Mercantile oral history transcripts

Call Number: RH MS 570


Collection of oral interview transcriptions as part of a project "Not for Profit: an Oral History of the Community Mercantile, a Natural Food Cooperative in Lawrence, Kansas" by Tom Kreissler. Kreissler interviewed 64 people involved in the early days of the Community Mercantile either as an organizer, founding member, volunteer, or staff member.


  • Creation: 1996 - 2001


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Community Mercantile (Lawrence, Ks)

The Community Mercantile, now known as The Merc, was started in 1972 as a natural food cooperative in Lawrence, Kansas. Through the years it has changed locations and expanded its product offerings and staff size.

The following history is adapted from the Merc archives website (

Mercantile located at 1237 Oread Street, Harry Kroeger manager.
Mercantile Grocery Company located at 730 Massachusetts Street.
January 2, 1975
Community Mercantile opens in new location at 728 Massachusetts Street. Molly Van Hee was the first manager. Suzanne Bryant was soon hired as a co-manager.
June 1975
Community Mercantile moves to 615 Massachusetts Street. Chuck Magerl, Patti Spencer and Diane Luber joined the management team.
November 1975
The Community Mercantile Credit Union (brainchild of Chuck Magerl) was started with 24 accounts and assets of $285, located at 615 Massachusetts Street in the back of the Community Mercantile. Dick Dunhaupt was the first manager. Other early day employees included Lynn Pieschl, Rod Runyan, Paul Johnson, Mark Maher, Richard Kirschenbaum, Denise Kester, Marilyn Roy, and others.
The Community Mercantile incorporated (Inc.). Mark Maher was the president.
August 1977
Community Mercantile Inc. moved to 700 Maine Street.
Community Mercantile Inc. was managed by Chuck Magerl.
Community Mercantile Inc. moved to the corner of 9th and Mississippi Street.
Community Mercantile located at 9th and Iowa Street and rebranded as "The Merc."


.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 570

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Tom Kreissler, 2001.

Guide to the Community Mercantile Collection
Community Mercantile oral history transcripts
Finding aid prepared by hab, mab, 2005. Finding aid encoded by lmw, 2017.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Community Mercantile oral history transcripts Collection, RH MS 570, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States