Ottawa will be home to the largest green department store in North America when terra20 opens on Sept. 15 at the Pinecrest Shopping Centre.
The store will carry a wide variety of products, from organic cotton and bamboo bedding to cosmetics, office supplies, toys, clothing, and even light fixtures.
Everything in the store has to have some sort of green story to it.
— Pamela Tourigny, terra20
The idea for one-stop shopping for green products for home and personal use germinated from a conversation CEO Steve Kaminsky and president Bill Stewart had in 2006 when Kaminsky was building his home.
Kaminsky wondered why it was so hard to find eco-friendly products and mentioned how nice it would be if there were a single-source eco-department store.
The two Ottawa residents decided to pioneer a department store that would make it easier for consumers to find eco-friendly products that are certified, sustainable, don’t contain toxic chemicals, and are either recyclable or made from recycled materials.
The store will carry more than 12,000 products in all. Icons will indicate a product’s status of sustainable, fair trade, organic, “contains no bunnies” (doesn’t contribute to animal suffering and contains no animal byproducts), waste-reducing, and many others.
The showcase of the store is an “ecobar” where consumers can get cleaning products in refillable containers for which a credit is given when returned. None of the cleaning or personal care products is tested on animals.
“These things are important as some people may not be willing to buy products that are not fair trade or are really intent on organic. Everybody has their priorities and these icons will help people to identify the things that fit within their priorities,” says community manager Pamela Tourigny.
iPads will inform shoppers with details about the products for those who want more specific information.
“Everything in the store has to have some sort of green story to it,” Tourigny says.
“The way we see the store is it’s a place where you can just come in and grab a few things if that’s what you need, but if you just want an afternoon to browse or you’ve got a spare evening where you just want to experience something different, there’s always going to be lots of things for people to discover.”
The store was built using recycled products wherever possible and designed with plenty of natural light to reduce energy consumption.
Most of the advertising for the opening has been through social media and staff will communicate with customers on Twitter and Facebook. The owners want to be part of the community and listen to feedback from customers on the products they find useful.
There are plans for in-store education sessions, Web-based ordering, and eventually stores in other cities across Canada.
For more information about the store and its products, visit www.terra20.com.
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