STONINGTON — For Mystic resident Jason Hine, opening his personal enterprise wasn’t about getting wealthy or making a reputation for himself.
Hine, who described himself as a involved citizen and environmental activist, mentioned he and his workers at The Ditty Bag Market and Cafe are dedicated to growing a sustainable enterprise mannequin that may assist make a constructive, long-lasting affect in the neighborhood by selling accountable, sustainable merchandise and life.
“My hope is that public education and community outreach will be a big part of our business model,” mentioned Hine. “We are not doing this to make get rich or even make money. Our hope is to provide a model that will encourage others to get involved, and to offer a means for local residents to help make a difference themselves.”
“I want to make this store a place where anyone can feel welcome, come present ideas on how to improve our town and just be part of the community,” he mentioned.
The Ditty Bag Market and Cafe, positioned at 7 Rooselvelt Ave. in Mystic, is effectively on its solution to that objective.
Tucked alongside Route 1 throughout from the Amtrak practice station, the enterprise shouldn’t be significantly flashy or ornamental from the surface. Those who stroll inside, nevertheless, are met with a comfy sofa house and work desk on the entrance of a well-stocked retailer and cafe that gives a collection of meals, candles, cleaners, fresh-brewed espresso and different merchandise together with reuseable baggage, because the enterprise title suggests.
Those who go to can cease for a pleasant dialog, ask about any merchandise and even strive a pattern from the detergents and different merchandise that buyers should purchase by the ounce if they want.
“Some products, like our milk from Terra Firma Farm, may not be completely plastic-free, but we are constantly working to look for better, yet sustainable options and that is one of the best solutions right now,” Hine defined. “With a product like the milk, we are remaining local so that we can visit the farm and see how the operation works, and so that we are eliminating the impact of having to transport products around the state or bring them in from other states.”
The enterprise mannequin is not one which has taken off in northeast U.S. states simply but, Hine admitted, however attracts fashions utilized by profitable ventures on the west coast and in Europe.
The retailer permits prospects to carry their very own containers and buy merchandise by weight, Hine defined, permitting patrons to discover other ways they might make small changes that might assist have a huge impact on decreasing waste.
Lauren St. Amour, a Mystic resident who visited the shop Wednesday together with her son, mentioned she had heard concerning the retailer on Instagram and was drawn to the thought of a enterprise that operated largely with out the usage of plastics. A Mystic resident herself, she mentioned she noticed the shop as a very good useful resource for these in search of methods to make a distinction.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for people in the community to make a difference,” St. Amour mentioned. “Our family has been trying to find ways to reduce our footprint and this is a great local resource for that.”
Although the shop itself has been open for simply over three weeks, the idea is one which each Hine and retailer supervisor Deniz Kayhan mentioned this week had been brewing for the previous two years. Hine nonetheless remembers strolling right into a Mystic-area retailer two summers in the past after the enterprise had shifted to an all-organic mannequin as a part of an effort to offer sustainability.
Hine mentioned the targets of that retailer, which has since closed, had been totally different than his personal when it got here to environmental sustainability, however the go to made him suppose that maybe he might discover success within the rising market of eco-friendly merchandise.
“We didn’t have anything quite like it. There was nowhere residents could go to just ask questions and be successful,” he mentioned.
After talking with mates, he mentioned he knew that it will be vital to maneuver ahead in establishing a enterprise himself if he had been going to see a zero-waste retailer open. With the assistance of SCORE, a business-based group that goals to assist begin ups and small companies, and help from city workers and personnel with the Ledge Light Health District.
Hine and Kayhan didn’t know one another but at that time, Kayhan defined, however she too had gone by means of her personal experiences and was seeking to see a zero-waste retailer open within the Mystic space. After discovering some roadblocks alongside her personal path, she discovered about Hine’s efforts late final yr when her finest pal, Bella Langlois, labored along with Hine on Bob Statchen’s marketing campaign for a state senate seat.
When Hine was prepared to start hiring workers earlier this yr, Kayhan mentioned Langlois instantly instructed her concerning the job and she or he reached out to Hine. The two linked immediately, Hine mentioned, and he credited her with hitting the bottom operating, saying she grew to become a precious enterprise accomplice virtually instantly.
“This store isn’t just about selling products. It’s about connecting with people, and it’s about building a better community for the future,” Kayhan mentioned.
The two work alongside two different staff, Hine mentioned, and the workforce mentality has helped expedite efforts to make the brand new enterprise develop. By the tip of July, each Hines and Kayhan mentioned they hope to have launched the academic part, with the primary to concentrate on a but unidentified environmental challenge.
The two mentioned that every program would come with not solely a dialogue, however end in an motion merchandise for residents to do with a view to stay lively, comparable to writing a letter to a legislator or taking motion to make a change in day by day habits. The applications will proceed to be hosted periodically, and most ought to stay freed from cost.
They may also proceed to construct out their on-line presence — you will discover the shop on Facebook at https://www.fb.com/TheDittyBagMarketandCafe/ — and work to enhance their house and improve the alternatives and product choices out there for native residents.
“We are continuing to look at ways to make full use of our space, and to make the biggest difference we can in our little section of the world,” Hine mentioned.