STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 47)

NUTS AND BOLTS / SUSTAINABILITY Clean and Green Meijer the first U.S. retailer to sell ecostore product line BY FRED MINNICK W The roots of ecostore can be traced back nearly 20 years to the 150-acre eco village where Rands, his wife Melanie and a Everyone, it seems, is adding or creating green lines these days, host of other like-minded but after hearing the ecostore story — how sales in its home marfolks lived. They chalket are growing 50 percent a year, why founder Malcolm Rands lenged themselves to is called “ecoman” in New Zealand and Australia, and how the drink nearby water, grow organic gardener and environmental pioneer has taken ecostore their own food and help from a mail-order business to a dyone another. While he namic international company — says the project was “not a many wanted to sell the products. bunch of hippies in a com“We’d talk to the management of mune,” it was here that inspithe big chains and they’d always ration struck. say the same thing to us: ‘Well, I “Once we started looking think you’re too late. You’re too at the everyday chemicals small. Other players have taken the used inside your home, we space,’” Rands says. “Half an were quite appalled because hour later they say, ‘O.K., well, the chemicals were actually when can you ship?’” far worse than the chemicals In the end, ecostore chose we’d been campaigning Grand Rapids, Mich.against going onto the food,” based Meijer as its first Rands says. “In those days U.S. retail outlet benot many people had thought cause, Rands says, the about that.” superstore had a sense Rands had begun researchof “local community” ing household products as and its brand values fit early as 1986, and deterecostore’s visions. mined that natural elements Rands appreciates the could be just as effective as fact that Meijer is a midthe chemicals found in most dle-range supermarket of them. “If everyone made targeting the everyday small little changes in their shopper, rather than life, we actually wouldn’t U.S. cleaning products market: one of the higher-end have the environmental crisis stores that the average we have now,” Rands says. person cannot afford to “It actually is quite empowshop on a regular basis. ering for people to do that.” “I really am interested in going into That’s what Meijer is learning. Althe normal ma-and-pa, down-the-corthough the privately held 185-store Malcolm ner-of-your-block supermarket where chain would not divulge sales figures, Rands 95 percent of the population shops,” spokesman Frank Gugliemi says the Rands says. “That’s where I’d like for ecostore line has sold extremely well. our product to be.” Meijer carries laundry liquid composed hen New Zealand-based ecostore USA was looking for stateside retailers to sell its line of green cleaning products, company executives interviewed all the big names. $17.5 billion WWW.STORES.ORG STORES / MAY 2009 47 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009