Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009 - (Page 18)

G RE E N RE TA I L I NG Practising what they preach As some of Canada’s greenest retailers will tell you, you can’t just sell a few eco-friendly items and call yourself “green” — you’ve got to show customers you’re committed to the cause, right down to the last (VOC-free) drop of paint on the walls. Meet some retailers who are helping their customers live greener lives by showing them how it’s done. Riva’s: The Eco Store by s h e r r i f r a s e r Calgary natives Riva and Andrew Mackie opened Riva’s: The Eco Store, which sells a wide assortment of apparel, housewares, skin care products and building supplies, because they grew frustrated looking for environmentally healthy products online. Riva says that while creating a greener space may have cost more in the initial start-up, she sees the benefits in her staff’s health and level of job satisfaction: “I think it really helps with morale to do all that you can gives them something to be excited about and support.” 6 3 5 2 P H OTO C R E D I T: S H E R R I F R A S E R 1 4 1. Riva’s doesn’t use harsh cleaning chemicals, which helps improve air quality in the store and also lessens environmental impacts. Vinegar replaces more common, but expensive, commercial cleaners. 2. Although Riva and Andrew like to see the variety of products demonstrated at trade shows, they find the cost and environmental impacts of frequent travel unacceptable. When they do travel, they try to combine trips to visit more than one expo. Whenever possible, Riva uses catalogues to order most products: “(When ordering clothes,) it’s nice to see them, so sometimes I have them send me samples.” 3. Shelving left over from the previous tenant and used shelves purchased from another retailer kept start-up costs down and kept fixtures from going to the landfill. Their decorating incorporated packaging materials as papier-mâché on their shelves. Packing boxes are cut up so they can make their own price tags and invitations to store events. 4. Many of their shelves are made from formaldehyde-free wheat and sunflower seed-husk boards. Finishing the shelves with zero volatile organic compound (zero-VOC) stains and milk paints also prevents air contamination. 5. Their front counter is made of reclaimed wood and sustainably forested plywood, and features a countertop made from recycled paper, coal fly-ash and cement. 6. American Clay, a type of plaster that uses natural clays, recycled and reclaimed aggregates, and natural pigments provides colour and texture to the store’s feature wall with zero VOCs emitted. Heating and cooling costs take up the largest chunk of their utility bills. Riva’s is fully supplied by wind power through Bullfrog Power, but the Mackies chose their location for its large, south-facing windows, which encourage passive solar heating in the winter and reduce heating costs. Calgary doesn’t suffer huge heat waves, so cooling is manageable, but as Riva says, “There’s so much you can do with a building… in terms of how efficient the heating system or cooling system is; we don’t ever use our cooling system, we just open our doors.” 18 | C A N A D I A N R E TA I L E R | M AY/J U N E 2 0 0 9 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Come Together
Where Green Never Goes Out of Style
Practising What They Preach
When Times are Tough
How the West was Wowed
In Pursuit of a Well-Dressed West
Sporting a Bold New Look
Bigger and Better
Back to the Future
Revved for Success
The Questions Retailers Ask
Signs of the Times
Advertisers' Index
You Asked Us

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009