"Do the things that make you light up, because that ripples out into the world and raises the vibration for everyone." Yes, yes and yes! We are feeling so inspired by this week's Spotlight interview with owner Shawna of the Living Pantry Refillery just north of us in Blaine, WA by the US-Canadian border. It's an honor to have local support from this well-equipped refillery and we encourage you to stop in for unique zero-waste finds and sincere customer service. Enjoy our interview!
Note: All photos courtesy of Living Pantry.
Q: What is the name of your business and where are you located?
A: Living Pantry Refillery located at 684 Peace Portal Drive, Blaine, WA
Q: How do you signify ownership?
Q: What kind of shop do you have? What kinds of goods do you carry?
A: We carry home goods, body care, spices, dry food staples, liquid consumables all in bulk. We also have housewares and self-care accessories that are made of sustainable alternatives to plastics. We carry lots of locally-made skin care products and gifts.
Q: Describe your shop in three words.
A: Reduce. Refill. Reuse.
Q: What inspired you to open your store? Feel free to share a how you got started story here if you please!
A: I have always wanted to have my own shop of some sort. As a family, we've always lived fairly naturally - consuming organics, choosing all-natural cleaners and body-care products, shopping locally, refilling bulk products, etc. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had the idea to create the kind of shop that I would love to shop in; a place that could become a neighborhood hub of connection and good times. Everything within me kept saying that this was the perfect time, even though the outer world was in chaos and pointing toward putting this idea on hold a while longer.
A little backstory... We started our Living Pantry brand about 15 years ago. At that time, we were living a raw food lifestyle, and raising our son raw. Our passion for living foods and natural hygiene had us dreaming of ways we could share what we were discovering and empower other families to rethink their food choices. My husband, Seppi, created the name and logo to embody our connection to the earth, the sun, and each other. We've held onto it for all these years as a touchstone for what is important to us.
We've had many adventures over the past 15 years, including living in Costa Rica full time for 3 years. We launched a small living food business with our brand there, using food we grew on our land. It was exciting to see our food and name on the shelf at a popular natural foods store. We were creating some innovative products in small batches, while continuing to explore and define what the Living Pantry means to us. It's more than just a name - it's also an ideal and a lifestyle, a way of being present and consciously interacting with all areas of consumption.
So, now, we bring a diverse perspective to this current manifestation of the Living Pantry. Like life, it is always evolving, growing, adapting. This store is rooted in so much love and feels expansive and ripe with possibility.
Q: What aspects of being a shop owner are your favorite?
A: I absolutely love being in creation mode of the space, from decor, to products sold, to scents wafting, to the music playing. I am highly sensitive to how things feel in my environment. Above that, I adore most being able to meet people all day long. My goal is to eventually know everyone by name that frequents our shop. Being the owner, I get to create the best customer experience at my discretion. If I feel like gifting something to someone, or helping them choose an item that is 100% based on their need not my need to sell more, or walking out the door with them to keep on chatting and hearing about their story - I can choose to do all those things. It's so liberating and SO fun for me.
Q: Are there words you live by or wisdom you'd like to share?
A: Choose Joy. Those 2 words are deeply profound to me. They stand alone with strong meaning, and together they provide me with a motto for sculpting my life. They remind me that I don't have to be blindsided by emotions - that I can choose my attitude, my behavior, my reactions. Joy is my balance point. I see light around me everywhere, at all times. And when I feel overwhelmed or down, I allow those feelings, but I bring myself back to finding joy and delight in what's around me.
Q: How do you practice self-care?
A: I eat well, create art, play music, read, spend quality time with my husband and son, tend to our chickens. I stay tuned in to how I'm feeling and work on creating balance for myself. I pay attention to my inner cues to provide me with all the information I need to adjust and recalibrate.
Q: Besides shopping with you, are there any other ways folx can support you?
A: I think that we all can support each other by choosing to live purposefully and joyfully. Be kind and loving. Look for ways to give love, to say nice things, to be helpful. Follow your heart. Do the things that make you light up, because that ripples out into the world and raises the vibration for everyone. When we live joyfully and heart-centered, we encourage/allow/inspire others to do the same.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
A: Seppi and I are extremely grateful for the support, enthusiasm, and connection we've been experiencing at the shop. We really appreciate the support, and we are so aware that we are all in this together. We look forward to meeting more and more community members. And for those people who are unable to visit us here, we are opening our online store by the end of February 2021. Thank you for reading.
You can shop at Living Pantry online and in person Monday - Saturday: 10am-6pm & Sunday: Noon-5pm, however they are closed on Tuesdays. Learn more about them by checking out their website, Instagram, and Facebook!