What used to be a gym at 206 Piccadilly St. in downtown London will soon be home to a fully-stocked grocery store, but a grocery store with a twist.
“What we wanted to do was provide grocery options that are affordable, convenient and it’s also package free,” says Heenal Rajani, co-founder of Reimagine Co.
Rajani and wife Kara Rijnen created a package-free startup called Reimagine Co. two years ago, which focused on selling soaps, and hygiene type items package free.
“We started it as a three month pop up and thought, maybe we are the only ones who care about this? Maybe no one else cares about reducing their waste so let’s see,” says Rijnen.
“The community embraced it with two hands and open arms and its grown, we had around 30 refillery products when we opened, now we have more than 100.”
Now the couple want to take their business to the next level with a zero waste grocery store.
“We will have dried goods but we will also have frozen foods and fresh produce and breads and all the things,” says Rijnen.
The team started a crowdfunding campaign to kick start the store, it has already exceeded its $50,000 goal.
“This is not just for people who are zero-waste enthusiasts. This is not just for people who’s generating a mason jar of garbage a year, not at all. What we want to do is show that living package free is for everyone, this is a simple way of living,” says Rajani.
How it works is shoppers bring their own reusable containers and bags which they fill with grocery items, then it gets weighed at the end.
The Reimagine zero waste grocery store is set to open in downtown London this November.
The team is currently working with the Middlesex London Health Unit to make sure all COVID-19 safety measures are in place.
“Clearly with COVID there are some challenges to open a business of any kind or to keep a business going of any kind is challenging in this time,” says Rajani. “We won’t have everything in the beginning but we are hoping to have enough products to offer to provide great value to the community.”
The pair hopes the idea really catches on, and that people give this new method of shopping a shot.
“We need to make these shifts and we need to make these changes,” says Rijnen. “If we can make this just as easy as going to the regular grocery store but you’re not going through all that waste, why wouldn’t you do it? It seems like a no brainer to me.”