Over the past few weeks, a lot of well-meaning friends and passers-by have told our team, "The work you are doing is so important." While we appreciate that feedback and we wholeheartedly agree that sustainability work is important, it seems to miss the boat when that sentiment doesn't lead to action.
Last week, a friend and business owner in Seattle closed the doors to her zero waste grocery store after 5 years. The business is a labor of love, and the pandemic definitely took a mental and physical toll on many small business owners. She chose to close her store so that she could move on to other pursuits and care for her family, after unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer to keep the store open. In her closing days, she said that many of her friends and occasional customers expressed sadness that the store would not be available to them anymore, but that they hadn't shopped there as much as they felt they should have. In their words, "They didn't shop their values." Going forward, their choices will be much more limited and likely wrapped up in single-use plastics - maybe that isn't a change from how they shopped, but the choice sadly won't be there anymore.
We think of Byrd's, like Scoop, as a community resource. There aren't places to get bulk food and spices around here, much less to get it all as a one-stop shop for your household stuff, too. Those of us who prefer to shop this way drive long treks to stores in San Francisco, San Jose, Half Moon Bay or even Santa Cruz to access some of these amazing products or buy them in quantities that WE determine. So, as a community resource, this is a place not where our staff is doing something great, but where our community has a chance to do something great. Our community will determine how this goes!
The coolest part? You can save a lot of money doing this. I guarantee you'll save a boatload on any spice compared to your previous grocery store, since we intentionally undercut them by 30 - 50%. Refill the same brand of shampoo, soap, body wash, etc, and save at least 10% over buying new. Even refilling your egg carton is cheaper than buying the same local eggs!
Small businesses can take a year to fully ramp up to what they are going to be. We are just finishing up our 4th month, which means we have a long way to go. This resource is too important to the community to give up, but we need your help to get to where it needs to be. If it's important to you to have this resource here, tell your community and shop your values! Friends, family, school, work, etc - everyone enjoys saving money and experiencing something new. Thanks for your help to spread the word!