Grimsby eco-conscious store expanding into former Home Hardware space to offer locally-sourced food

Mrs. Greenway in Grismby expands Mrs. Greenway Owner Christine Kempf is preparing to expand and move to a new location downtown Grimsby.

The eco-product store Mrs. Greenway, on Grimsby’s COVID-battered downtown strip, is expanding to a larger location and growing to include a locally-sourced food section.

Mrs. Greenway, located at 24 Main St West, has been a fixture of downtown Grimsby for five years. It is moving to its new location across the street at 31 Main Street West, into one side of the bottom floor retail space in the building that used to house Home Hardware. That building was recently converted into the Boone Dog office space.

The expansion is good news for Grimsby’s iconic downtown strip, which suffered numerous pandemic-slammed business shutdowns last spring, including Found Furniture Consignment, Crock-a-Doodle, and The Happy Baby.

Adding a locally-sourced food section

The revamped Mrs. Greenway will offer a similar collection of sustainable products as it stocked in the former location. It sells eco-friendly everything, from reusable lunch bags and kid’s items to earth-conscious bath and beauty products. It also offers bulk laundry detergent and soaps with refillable jars. But the new location will have even more eco-goodies. Mrs. Greenway is getting an upgrade by adding a locally-sourced food section that will offer fresh food from local farmers.

“It’s really hard (right now) to find local foods in Grimsby all in one spot. There’s an abundance of places surrounding us, but you have to go to many spots…My goal is to try to offer people one place to come… we’re supporting local, but we’re also cutting down on our carbon footprint,” said Owner Christine Kempf.

Grimsby will be the first of the brand’s three locations to get food products. According to Kempf, her stores in Dundas and Elora currently have less of a demand for fresh goods. Dundas already has a food market that’s been running for over 65 years.

So with plans to bring in fruit and vegetables from local farmers, Grimsby residents will soon be able to make buying local produce a much easier habit. Customers will be able to visit a single store downtown to get what they need, instead of travelling to multiple farmer’s stands in the area, or waiting until Thursday afternoon for the seasonal Grimsby Farmers’ Market.

Produce arrives in the spring

The produce won’t be there next Friday when the new store opens, though. Instead, it will arrive next year. “We want to do local produce, (but) we’ve missed that window this year. So, we will be getting local produce next year in late spring, early summer,” said Kempf.

What is also unique about Mrs. Greenway’s fruit and vegetables is that they will be sold in bulk. This will drastically cut down on waste and align with store’s eco-friendly mission. “It won’t be like when you go to the grocery store and it’s got everything wrapped in plastic. Our items will be bulk… And we’re hoping right now that everything will be organic, as well,” Kempf explained

The store will also have a dry goods section. “Similar to Bulk Barn…(shoppers) can bring (their) own containers. Bulk Barn was doing that but they’ve exited it because of COVID…so, we won’t go right into the bulk..with COVID we aren’t sure exactly how it is going to be received,” said Kempf.

The store will also have a refrigerated section and freezer packed with locally-sourced food items. “We’ve got a local vegan food producer with a bunch of different items…we’ve got local kombucha coming in, where you return your bottles when you’re done and they’ll repurpose them,” Kempf told The Bench News.

Kempf said she has been eager to expand for a long time. She has wanted to grow the store’s popular refill section of personal care and cleaning agents. When space in the new location became available, even in the era of COVID-19, Kempf knew they needed to jump on the opportunity immediately.

The demand for eco-conscious products is growing and West Niagara is no exception. During the COVID-19 shutdown, while the Mrs. Greenway brand did have to pivot to online sales and deliveries, its stores stayed busy.

Grateful for support from locals

“I can’t express how grateful I am. We were very busy when we shut down during the pandemic… and groups continue to rally around us. (Eco-friendly products) are something that people really want and they continue to support local too,” said Kempf.

When asked what people can do to play their part in protecting the environment Kempf said the best approach is to take baby steps. “There’s a quote that I absolutely love…’we don’t need a small number of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

She suggests small actions such as purchasing refillable laundry soap in glass containers or using reusable silicone bags for kid lunches. “When we opened our first store I got a laundry soap container that I’ve been refilling. It’s now six years old…if every single person did that, think of the amount of containers just that alone would cut down on,” said Kempf.

Many Mrs. Greenway fans have been waiting in anticipation for the new store to open. “People seem to be very excited. I hope when we open our doors it will flourish as I envision,” she said.

In preparation for the move, Mrs. Greenway will be closed Monday, Oct. 19 to Thursday Oct. 22. It will reopen in its new location on Friday, Oct. 23.