As part of our activities and contacts made within ZeroWaste Switzerland, we notice that there are many Swiss who wish to embark on the adventure of opening a zero waste store for bulk distribution.
We have recently interviewed Olivier and Eslyne that are preparing the opening of their organic and bulk grocery store in the Sion area.
They explain us their concept and talk about their future plans.
We have also had the opportunity to ask them a few questions about the difficulties of such a project: the most complicated steps remain finding funding and providers agreeing to play the game of « unpacked ».
You recently announced the opening of your zero waste store in Sion “Chez Mamie, bio – vrac”. This store project asked you 5 years of hard work with 3 years searching providers and investors.
Could you explain the concept of this store and what are the features?
Chez Mamie will be a meeting place, you will be able to buy dry food, cleaning and hygiene products in bulk.
The containers will be available in the shop: glass bottles, wire closure jars, or cloth bags of different sizes, plain or colourful. You will find what you were looking for and they will follow you all your life long for your shopping without plastic, and they will even beautifully decorate your kitchen!
A space for cooking workshops will also be available in the back of the shop. Come and spend a good time around pastries and gourmet dishes between friends, for a birthday, for a snack with children… with the products of the store.
Our catering business that we had previously will continue.
We will also offer a home coaching. Live better with less, interested? We help you simplify your life, because we have only one!
What kind of products can we find Chez Mamie?
For food: flour, rice, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, coffee, cocoa, spices, oils …
Cleaning products: white vinegar, baking soda, scrubbing brush, …
Personal hygiene: soap, dry shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, menstrual cup, toothbrush, cotton facial tissues, baby wipes, ..
You have opted for a completely zero waste approach, as even the primary packages have been removed! What were the biggest challenges during the implementation of your project?
The collaboration with local producers, we have been faced with the reality. Unfortunately many of them haven’t play the game. But we are in a continuous improvement process and do not lose hope to find new voluntary partners wishing to do something for the planet!
Many Swiss would like to start an adventure to open a grocery store without packaging, what are the main steps to follow depending on your personal experience?
We have indeed received many testimonials from Swiss wishing to open a shop like ours.
First, we recommend to already be in a zero waste approach at home. Because it is not just a business and a job but well and truly a life philosophy in itself.
Then, finding a suitable location, places market law is not obvious …
Find providers wishing to participate in the adventure with a zero waste approach.
It’s necessary to keep in mind that in a grocery store the margins are very low. It is best therefore to expand the offer as we do with cooking classes, catering or other …
Do you think the fundraising is the main obstacle to this kind of initiative? In your opinion, what are the enabling factors for this type of project?
Open such a shop implies an important financial effort. To each their own approach to find funding.
The store “Chez Mamie” opens in Sion on May 17 and reflects your deep commitment to zero waste. Other projects are they coming?
Obviously! We have lots of projects!
Including establishing an organic, local and package-free school canteen in our town for the 2017 school year.
And expanding our concept in other Swiss cantons as a franchise. To facilitate the opening of this kind of stores benefiting from our network as well as our experience.