The Reason MOM's Organic Market Has Been Compared To A Cult

MOM's Organic Market isn't the first grocery of its kind to acquire a cult following: Trader Joe's is loved for its store-brand products, and Whole Foods for its pre-made sushi and hot-food bar. But, the MOM's operation takes this a step further, not only placing importance on providing organic food but cultivating mindfulness in the process (via WCP). From the shopping experience to who they hire, the chain exudes a stress-free environment staffed by employees that seem to reap the benefits of company mindfulness retreats and on-location meditation rooms (via MOM's, WCP).

What began as a grocery delivery business, operating out of the then 22-year-old CEO Scott Nash's mother's garage, has grown into more than a dozen grocery locations spread across five states (via MOM's). Generating nearly $200 million in revenue per year, Scott Nash calls himself an "activist CEO," using the business as a vehicle for social and environmental change. His radical approach to the organic food business bleeds into the company culture — or "CULTure" as he referred to it on the company's website as early as November of 2017 (via WCP).

Culture or CULTure?

Like Sprout's Farmer's Market, MOM's places big importance on environmental welfare. But, a review of the company's core values, as listed on the MOM's website, includes broad ideals such as gratitude, courage, letting go of ego, uplifting others, accepting change, and maintaining their "purpose." It's also emphasized that these values aren't only upheld at work, but in the employees' personal lives through regular check-ins (via WCP). In a statement to the Washington City Paper, Scott claims that the cult reference, which labeled the website's job openings page as "Join our CULTure," was a joke. However, it seems to have only fueled comparisons backed by employee experience.

A deep dive into sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, where employees can anonymously provide reviews based on their experience working at a company, prove meditation and mindfulness only go so far in creating a healthy workplace culture. The company's list of pros on Glassdoor outlines the generous 30% off employee discount, free meals (via MOM's), and dress code, but the cons are a bit striking in comparison. One review on Indeed describes the culture as "toxic positivity," and others on Glassdoor mention the company's "cult-like" approach, nepotism, and even instances of managers taking weekend shifts off for their yoga practice.