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Walk the Walk:
on a daily basis—all of that could be gone,” she says. “Sell Los Angeles-based eco-consultant and president of
cloth bags or have them bring in their own bag. That’s very Green Life Guru, says the move also creates goodwill
I easy to do. Give 10 percent off if they use that bag,” among your staff. “After you do all these things, the
McDaniel advises her fellow retailers. people who are working for you are going to be much
How to Green Your Store
Consider the following additional suggestions:
happier because they are breathing better air. All around
E it’s going to pay for itself,” Steiner says.
Switch to eco-friendly cleaning supplies. There are
plenty of alternatives that do not cost any more than
Getting take-out lunch for your crew? Consider buying
“mainstream” products, says Gregg Steiner, president of
from your local farmers’ market or from your local food
Los Angeles-based, Green Life Guru. Green Life Guru
co-operative. More local food businesses are responding
is a consulting firm that helps individuals and businesses
to customer demands that food be fresh, healthy and if at
who want to live more sustainable and healthy lifestyles.
all possible, organic.
If you pay someone to clean for you, know that a
Use “smart strips” for anything that needs to be plugged
You would like to
growing number of cleaning businesses are advertising
into an electrical outlet. These power strips conserve
green your store—or
that they use “green” cleaning supplies, says Givens, of the
energy because when turned off, no electricity is being
Organic Trade Association. The association provides
used. They also come with a power monitor, which tracks
at least get started.
listings of certified organic products, producers, ingredients,
how much energy you are using at any given time.
But what if you don’t
supplies and services offered by OTA members, as well
Know where your products come from. What is the
as items of interest to the entire organic community.
have a whole lot of
environment like in which these products are made and
Consider creating customized reusable bags with your store’s
distributed? How do these companies treat their employees?
spare cash to throw at
logo. It’s a good green step and a great marketing tool.
If organic is important to you, make sure a manufacturer’s
the mission? Here are
Even if they might be a bit more expensive, consider
green claims are true.
using recycled paper and ink products. Look for
some small (and big)
Stamping out carbon
“soy-based” in the list of materials.
Carbon offsets are tools you can buy to offset the carbon
ideas to get you on Institute a recycling program at your shop. Givens, from emission that your store produces. Companies like San
the green track.
the Organic Trade Association, advises calling your Francisco’s TerraPass, helps calculate your store’s emission
municipal waste services or local chamber of commerce and recommends the right carbon offsets that work. Money
Heather Durocher for pick-up options. Setting up stations where customers used to buy these offsets is then channeled toward clean energy
can bring in hard-to-recycle items (such as printer research, reforestation and similar environmentally friendly
cartridges or other computer-related materials) is also activities. Investing in carbon offsets (after implementing
hen Shannon McDaniel took over a well known wanted to respect that,” McDaniel says of the shop that
something to consider. Should you be renovating your simple green strategies) shows you are serious about being
Los Gatos, CA clothing and home furnishings shop formerly was known as Leaf & Petal. At the same time,
building’s interior or exterior, consider handing over the and staying green.
in late 2007, preserving much of the store’s longtime appeal McDaniel also wanted to bring in what she describes as a
salvageable materials to a local re-usable building materials In the end, any change large or small, is going to make
was a goal. Another important goal was to make the store “more eco-friendly, eco-fashion forward organic clothing
business. Givens says these kinds of businesses are a difference, Givens says. “Don’t worry about doing it all at
more green. line for women and children.” She planned on also stocking
cropping up around the country. once, which is sure to only overwhelm you, she says.
Whether you’re just beginning to create an environ- the store with home furnishings and accents made with
The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, an
“If you are embarking down this path, feel good at
mentally friendly store or you’d like to add even more organic or recycled materials.
Atlanta, GA-based non-profit rechargeable battery and
whatever part you are playing,” she says. “Keep chipping
eco-friendly touches to your operation, experts say Just as important as the products themselves was the
cell phone recycling company, helps in the recycling of
away at it and try to improve processes and cut back on
there’s plenty of simple ways you can make your shop actual building that houses the boutique. McDaniel spent
rechargeable batteries. The organization helps to recycle
waste and use energy efficiently. Every little bit does help.”
more “green.” several weeks taking steps to “green” the structure both inside
used portable rechargeable batteries, which are commonly
“Some changes are small but they add up over time,” and out. The store’s fixtures and furniture now include
found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones,
Heather Johnson Durocher, a regular contributor to GIFT SHOP, is a
says Holly Givens, public affairs advisor for the Organic rusted panels from dilapidated barns in Oregon and salvaged northern Michigan-based journalist who writes frequently about business
laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and
Trade Association. The Greenfield, MA-based organization wood. The “carbon footprint” involved in shipping materials
for newspapers and magazines. She has contributed to USA Weekend,
remote control toys.
aims to encourage global sustainability by promoting diverse large distances—that is, the energy expended in moving
Woman’s Day, Parents and American Baby.
organic trade. “It doesn’t have to be an extensive building materials—is much larger than gathering stuff locally, so
Seal air leaks from the building. A device known as a
change. I think a lot of it has to do with creative thinking this too needs to be factored into your “green” thinking.
“blower door” can find any poorly insulated spots in the Article Resources
with where waste might be happening and finding ways of
structure from where air could be leaking. Making sure
Small steps
cutting it out in the beginning of the stream,” she says. The
the building doesn’t lose energy is not only green, it also
Anjou Boutique Rechargeable Battery
Making your store more green can involve an overhaul
Los Gatos, CA Recycling Corporation
end result can prove gratifying—to both you and your customers.
cuts down on your energy bills. There are many consulting
similar to what McDaniel did to her shop. It can also
companies that offer the “blower door” service as part of Green Life Guru
Store overhaul? involve taking more simple steps such as changing your
a larger package of “green” steps to implement. Check
888.326.8884 TerraPass
As for McDaniel, she renamed the store—Anjou—and lighting to one that is more energy-efficient or improving
your Yellow pages. 877.210.9581
also planned a new vision for it. McDaniel decided she your indoor air quality.
would make the shop more earth-friendly. “We wanted to One trend McDaniel says she is seeing more often:
Test your water and air quality and take necessary steps Organic Trade Association
have the underpinnings of what (previous store owners) retailers offering re-usable bags to customers who purchase
to change these for the better. This will benefit not only 413.774.7511
had developed in Los Gatos over the past seven years. We items in the store. “The amount of bags we all go through
customers but also your employees. Gregg Steiner, a
32 GREENRetailer
n Summer/Fall 2008 n
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