Stephanie Lentz is here. She's the founder of a zero waste grocery store in Kirkland, Washington. It's called Scoop Marketplace, and she teaches people how to improve the quality of their lives while learning to walk more gently on the planet through her podcast Green Stuff, and digital courses for eco printers and eco conscious individuals.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 584
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[02:23] Tom's introduction to Stephanie Lentz [08:18] Getting the idea for the business [10:44] Never really had a regular job [15:09] Working from home and having systems in place [18:54] Best and worst part of brick and mortar [21:46] Sponsor message [23:51] A typical day for Stephanie [29:07] Teaching others to do what she did [34:58] Effects of supply chain issues
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KickStartCart – http://www.kickstartcart.com/
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Disabilities Page – https://imtcva.org/disabilities/
Scoop Marketplace – https://www.scoopmarketplace.com/
Scoop Intelligence – https://www.scoopintelligence.com/walkgently
Stephanie's Green Stuff podcast – https://www.greenstuffpodcast.com/
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Chandler Walker – https://screwthecommute.com/583/
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Episode 584 – Stephanie Lentz
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commune, the entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode 584 of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with Stephanie Lentz now. Her husband was on recently. He was a ten year firefighter and had a lot of crappy jobs. And then now he's a top business coach. But he was telling me about Stephanie's interesting business and I thought, you know, that's really perfect for the times. And and I think people would love to hear about this, even though it's brick and mortar, which, you know, I'm mostly all digital. So whoever on in a minute I think you really enjoy this. Let's see. Make sure you pick up a copy of our automation e-book at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And this book has saved me. We actually estimated it seven and one half million keystrokes and that was a couple of years ago. And all the items in it are cheap, free and right. Some of them are right on your computer already. It's just nobody taught you how to use them. It just saves a fortune in time and effort. Because I want you to spend the time with customers and prospects not fighting with your computer all day long. So pick up your copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. You can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. Now, we're still going strong with our program to help persons with disabilities get scholarships in the Internet and digital marketing. And they're really inspiring. Two of the people are blind and they're doing videos. I mean, it's just amazing the people what they're doing. And we've got a GoFundMe campaign set up. Anything you can kick in is great. It helps out. And if you're hey, if you're flush with cash, you can sponsor a person yourself. And that boy, what a thing you could be proud of changing somebody's life forever. So check that out at our school website. IMTCVA.org/disabilities. You can kick over to the GoFundMe campaign there and see their videos.
[00:02:24] All right. Let's bring on the main event. Stephanie Lentz is here. She's the founder of a zero waste grocery store in Kirkland, Washington. It's called Scoop Marketplace, and she teaches people how to improve the quality of their lives while learning to walk more gently on the planet through her podcast Green Stuff, and digital courses for eco printers and eco conscious individuals. Stephanie, are you ready to screw the commute?
[00:02:53] Absolutely. Let's do it.
[00:02:54] All right. I hear you. Even with a brick and mortar store, you've been able to screw the commute. Pretty much so. I can't. Can't wait to hear a story about this grocery store that you have. Tell us about it.
[00:03:07] Well, scoop is, like you said, a zero waste grocery store. So that means that people are bringing reusable containers to fill with our packaged free products, which includes bulk food, home goods and personal care products. So that way we are eliminating the need for disposable packaging and decreasing our carbon footprint overall.
[00:03:28] Now, you know, I'm used to going to Whole Foods once in a while, not all the time, but but I know they have these big bins of stuff. But when you said, you know, personal goods, I mean, are you talking about like body lotion and stuff in bulk or how is that not packaged individually?
[00:03:48] Yeah, I mean, we get whatever we can find. So we've got sunscreen, we've got aloe and shampoo and conditioner and facial toner in different oils for skins and things like that. So we get them in large containers and then we sell those things by weight, just as we do with any of our other products. And in some of the cases, we're able to actually they have what we call a loop system. So if they send the, let's say, the hand sanitizer, if they send that to us in a three gallon bucket, when that's empty, we can ship it back to them and they're able to wash and reuse that bucket and refill it with product to keep it in the loop.
[00:04:29] Wow. But now how does somebody buy it, though? Did they bring their own container to to purchase it?
[00:04:35] Exactly. So any clean, dry containers are fine. A lot of people shop with glass jars because we have an abundance of those. Right. Any time you get pickles in a jar or pasta sauce in a jar, we've got glass jars all over the place. But plastic yogurt containers work really well, too. And you just bring it in and we weigh the empty container and we take what's called the tare weight. That's the. Yeah, exactly. And then you can go and fill it with whatever products. And we've got some different things you could use if you wanted to mark on your container what the product is inside and then you bring it back up and we weigh the final product and deduct the tare weight. So you're just paying for the actual product itself and not the weight of the container.
[00:05:17] Right, right. Yeah, that's. That's beautiful. Now, do you have sometimes trouble telling the difference between products that are in a container?
[00:05:26] Yeah. And that's why, like I said, we do have we've got some grease pens or grease pencils around. And sometimes we use little tags that have chalk paint on them so that we can use chalk on them and then erase them and use them again. Or we actually discovered that Sharpies work really well on glass because you can wash it off or scrape it off later. So if we need to, we've got ways to help label them, especially with things like baking powder and baking soda. Right? Or like all the other white powders or different types of flour that can be really helpful to identify them.
[00:05:59] So is it is it somewhat honor system that when people are going to do this or do you have someone helping dispense all this stuff?
[00:06:08] A little bit of both. I mean, definitely the premise is built off of the honor system. And I think just in terms of our company values, we we attract a pretty stellar community of people. So that works well for us. And we all just kind of work together to make it a positive shopping experience for everybody.
[00:06:24] Yeah. Yeah. And when I first heard your husband Steven, talking about this, when he said zero waste, I thought that he meant that any perishable stuff was donated to homeless or something. But he said, no, no, there's no waste at all. Is that really true?
[00:06:43] Yeah. Well, that's the goal. Zero waste is kind of a. A very idealistic, idealistic lifestyle. It's not possible to be completely zero waste. I mean, I suppose you as an individual, you could go fully off grid and grow your own everything and maybe there's some possibility. But right now we have a very linear economy. So things are being created and their end destination is almost always the landfill. It's just a straight line. But if we can work more towards a circular economy where we are using resources and then using the same resources again and again in keeping them in use, that's what we want to be headed towards. So we do our absolute best to avoid sending things to the landfill. So you're right, if we need to with extra food, we will find opportunities to donate it or just make sure that if we have to sell it very, very inexpensively and make sure that it gets used and it's not getting tossed into compost, but then with other things, it's maybe getting a little bit creative about the recycling. So we partner with a company in this area called Rid Well and they have specialty recycling options available. So some of our spices, for example, even though we purchase large quantities of them, they still come in plastic packaging. But by partnering with BRIDWELL, we can wash that plastic packaging and then they come and pick it up with our weekly collection and they're able to recycle it. So it's all about kind of thinking outside the box. How can we divert this from the landfill and find some other way to keep the resources in the loop?
[00:08:19] Now, how did you get the idea for this business and the name?
[00:08:23] Well, we have made quite a few changes to our lifestyle after our first child was born and we had reduced a lot of the waste in our home. But I was still having a hard time with groceries. I would still come home from the grocery store with lots of trash. And around that time I noticed that these businesses were very common in Europe. I was seeing a lot of these zero waste grocery stores with these beautiful bulk bins, and I thought that seemed like something that would do very well in the Seattle area and was actually really surprised that no one else had started it yet. So I just decided to create it for myself. I basically created a grocery store that aligns with my own family values. And as to the name, you know, I remember going through this process with and I had a few different names I was really interested in, and I kind of started working on brand design for each of them to see which one I liked the feeling of the best, and I just always came back to the scoop because I was picturing like a stainless steel scoop that you would use to scoop food out of the bulk bin. But of course everyone thinks it's an ice cream shop. So but it is unique. It's a pretty unique name, which is nice. It makes it easy for people to find us online.
[00:09:36] And I just loved Marketplace that my vision for it has always been like a general store, you know, on a, on a high street in a little town. And people can walk to it and they can have all of their needs met there. And not only would there be a zero waste store, but I was hoping that in the future it would be a collective and we would have this space where we've got a business next to us that can repair bikes, and we've got a business next to us that sells second hand tools and things like that. So it's all about the culture and the community. And I felt like the word marketplace really kind of brought this. I always talk about how we're reviving the shopping methods of generations past. Book shopping is not new, you know, this is how they used to do it. So we're reviving those shopping methods to give ourselves a healthier future. But we have to find a way to offer this this old fashioned shopping service so that it is meeting the demands of our modern culture. It has to be convenient enough for them, and it has to be appealing enough for them. So I feel like we've got a little bit of that old timey vibe, but hopefully enough appeal to keep it relevant.
[00:10:45] Okay. Well, I want to get into some more of the how you actually run a business like this. But for that, I want to take you back to say, did you ever have just regular jobs?
[00:10:56] Oh, not really. Not really.
[00:11:00] Just a silver spoon, kid.
[00:11:03] I you know, I am. Multi passionate. Let's start there and I think I've probably always been an entrepreneur and it just took me a very long time to realize it. I'm definitely a dreamer. I'm very ambitious and I didn't. I, I just would have never thought of myself as a business owner that felt too big, that felt too overwhelming. So I did a lot of odd jobs. I was an elementary school teacher for a time. So I did I did spend a very short time doing that. But I've always chosen to follow my passions. So I have been a quartet curler in the malls at Christmas time, and I've been a horse wrangler and I've been.
[00:11:48] Oh, wait a minute, wait, what's a horse wrangler?
[00:11:50] Oh, you know, like leading trail rides in the mountains in the summertime. Oh, wow. Yeah. And managing the horses on the ranch and stuff. So, yeah, babysitter, nanny. I was an au pair in England. I've been a dance fitness instructor and a caterer, and I've taught some cooking and baking classes along the way. And, and yeah. And then at some point I realized that every time I went to sign a contract, even if it was for a job that I thought I really wanted, like a teaching job or a nanny job. I always felt trapped when I was signing that contract, and it took me a long time to realize what that meant for me. And I don't know, I guess paving my own way was just kind of the obvious next step. I got to a point where there wasn't another option.
[00:12:42] So when you got to that point, all right, from the time you decided to do this, how long did it take to develop a store like this? Because you had the lineup vendors, you had to get a place to lease or buy. And so how long did that take and what was what was that process like?
[00:13:01] Well, unfortunately, that assumes that there was a beginning and an end. And as far as I can tell, there is no end in sight.
[00:13:09] Well, you did open the doors.
[00:13:11] Yes. Yes. So it's definitely been ongoing. Let's see what year we end. So it's been about four and a half years now since I got the idea. So from the time that I got the idea, until I was able to open my first location, that was about a year and a half.
[00:13:28] How many locations did you have?
[00:13:30] So we I just have one. But we moved. We had about we were in about 200 square feet in Seattle, in the city. And then at the end of 2020, we moved into a much larger space. We're in about 100 square feet now and we're in the suburbs. We're outside of the city. And it's I thought we had kind of escaped the I saw so many business owners in 2020 having to close their doors and shut down their businesses. And I thought we had kind of escaped that because of the types of products that we sell. They were still in high demand. But then we moved at the end of 2020 and in 2021 we went into a construction phase and that's when we really got hit with the the pandemic effects because it was so hard to get building permits. It took us several months longer than they estimated just because there weren't that many people working in the office and then getting the supplies for the construction. So unfortunately, we spent most of 2021 under construction and then we reopened after a kitchen fire. We reopened in September.
[00:14:39] Your husband's a firefighter? Yeah, he was.
[00:14:42] He he, of course, was at work that night taking care of other people. But. Yes.
[00:14:48] So. So you're saying you did close down and then go through that construction phase or you stayed open continuously?
[00:14:55] Yeah, we did. I couldn't I you know.
[00:15:00] You shut down.
[00:15:01] We did shut down the first one because our lease had ended there. And so it was kind of a a timely move. We had to keep going.
[00:15:10] So I understand from what your husband said on when he was on the podcast that you do most of your work from home, you're not actually in the store. So what kind of systems did you have to put in place to pull that off?
[00:15:25] Oh, that's been a process as well. But I am full time with my kids for the most part, so I do work from home and at this point now I have an operations manager and she's pretty much remote as well. But she and I are in constant communication and she lives quite near to the store, so it's really easy for her to pop in and take care of something if she needs to. And we just have our our SOPs, our standard operating procedures. We've been pretty diligent about creating those for everything that we do in the store. My vision for it was always that it would run off of checklists so that, you know, in the future, when we have multiple locations, it doesn't matter which location you're at or which team members are working. You can still walk in and expect the same standard of extraordinary customer service. So we're that's always, always a work in progress. But those soaps have helped a lot. And then, of course, just using simple tools like Slack and Asana to stay in touch and keep track of projects.
[00:16:30] Asana I'm not familiar with that one.
[00:16:32] Asana is a project management system like Trello or Clique Up or there are quite a few of them, but we've, we've been using us on a pretty effectively for a while now. So it's an easy place to go in and create a project, assign it to someone, give them a due date. And then what I like about it is we can leave comments and ask questions right on that task, because otherwise if people are asking questions about random things, things in Slack, it's like a text thread. It just gets lost. You can't go back and find it. You'd have to really search for it. So this way, with a sauna, any relevant information or even documents and attachments that go with a specific task or assignment can just all be stored in the same place.
[00:17:19] Great, great. How many people does it take to run the store?
[00:17:22] We actually have a pretty small team right now. There are two people who are in the store keeping it open throughout the week. And then we have I mentioned my operations manager slash executive assistant, so that's my third person. And then I have a very, very part time team member who developed a monthly box subscription program for us. So she just runs that program and then myself. So we are a team of five right now.
[00:17:52] And have you considered franchising this?
[00:17:56] I have. I think it's an interesting idea. I actually I talked to a franchise lawyer a couple of years ago and he pretty much scared me off of the idea.
[00:18:05] Can be a lot of regulation for sure.
[00:18:08] Yeah. And I think for me, the most important thing is the mission, the vision, the values. And it just kind of freaked me out. Having someone else control something that has my brand name on it. And I was worried that I wouldn't be able to have as much say as I needed to make sure that those different franchises were operating with the same level of ethics and customer care.
[00:18:37] Got it. Got it. So what's what's the best part? And say I haven't run a brick and mortar since, I don't know, 1988. So what's the what's the best and worst part of it for you?
[00:18:55] I think, well, I'll start with the worst so that we can end on a high note. I think that the worst part is just the complete lack of predictability. I There are some days where the sales are fantastic and the shop is full and the energy is just booming and it's beautiful. And then there are days where we maybe don't have any sales or only a couple of people come in. And that can be really discouraging, especially when you feel like there's nothing you can do about it. So that coupled with the fact that having brick and mortar, having a brick and mortar business as opposed to an online business, just the overhead costs and everything, the operating expenses are pretty intense. So I would say that's definitely the worst thing. The best thing, though, is getting that in-person experience. I love connecting with our customers and like I said, just because of our our values, we attract such an incredible community. And my favorite thing is when you're in the shop and there's multiple customers in there and they're actually engaging with one another and they're helping each other come up with different solutions to sustainable living challenges that they're coming across. Or if someone's buying a product that you're not familiar with and you ask them, Oh, I've been so curious about that ingredient. How do you how do you use that? Tell me about it. And people are so eager and excited to share. I think that's the best when we've just got that transfer of knowledge and we're really building community.
[00:20:34] Now, can you monitor by video on your cell phone or tablet or computer or the stores?
[00:20:41] I could. I don't, but I, I we do have a camera as part of our security system, but I actually have never looked at it.
[00:20:51] Well, I thought maybe that's how you'd see all the people having, you know.
[00:20:55] I used to run I used to actually work in the shop very early on. And then for quite some time I would work in the shop if someone was sick or something like that. Now we just close it. That got to be too stressful for me, living farther away and having young kids. And any time that a staff member was sick and couldn't come in, it was almost always at a time where one of my kids was sick, you know, it's like really horrible timing. So I quit doing that because I realized, you know, whenever you say yes to something, it means you're saying no to something else. And I found I kept saying yes to my business and know to my family in ways that made me feel really icky. So I stopped doing that. But I do. I'm in there just if we have events or things like that tomorrow, I usually go in every couple of weeks for a team meeting, so I'll actually be in tomorrow and we've got an interview with a local news station, so I'll be there for several hours. So yeah, I get glimpses of it.
[00:21:48] Beautiful, beautiful. Well, we've got to take a break, sponsor break. When we come back, we'll ask Stephanie. She has a what's a day like for her running the business like this and running a beautiful family. And then she's got some very cool things. If you thought if you think, oh, I'd love to do something like that. Well, this is a way that can teach you how to do it. So, folks, I don't know. About 24 to 25 years ago, I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head, and the people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front to teach, teach what they knew. And I knew a lot of these people, a lot of them were rip offs. And they you know, you give them that money up front. They'd never you'd never see them again. So so I said, you know, that's too risky for small businesses. So I said, I'm going to charge an entry fee and ten times cheaper than what those guys are trying to charge. And then for me to get my big money, you had to make way bigger money. So for me to get my 50,000, you had to net 200,000. Well, I guess what, 20 what is it, 25 years later and 1700 students, it's still going strong. So you can check out the details that greatInternetmarketingtraining.com, but be ready to pack a lunch because there's so many unique features to this program.
[00:23:08] Nobody will put theirs up against mine because it'd be embarrassed. I mean, you have one on one training with me and my staff. You have an immersion weekend at the Great Internet Marketing Retreat Center in Virginia Beach. You have access to our TV studio. You also get a scholarship to our school, which you can either use yourself for extra training or gift to someone, which would be one of the best legacy gifts you could ever give a young person. All the colleges are just, you know, teaching them how to protest. And then by the time they get out, they're competing for jobs at Starbucks. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. Give me a call. I'm very accessible and love to talk about your future online.
[00:23:55] All right. Let's get back to the main event. We have Stephanie Lentz here. She's the founder of Zero Waste Grocery Store. And also when he said that, I was thinking, you mean I could get my waste down to zero? That's a long way to go. But what's a typical day look like for you running a young family and and running this business?
[00:24:19] I think I've learned to expect anything but typical in my day to day. I think what is most consistent is that I, I know I'm going to be interrupted at some point, and I just do what I can when I can.
[00:24:36] So then some podcast host could mess with the time of the recording, couldn't he? Well, those people are just irresponsible.
[00:24:47] Yeah, that's okay. I was ready for it. I was expecting I was expecting things to go, not to plan. But, you know, my kids, they are five and seven. So they're actually at an age where they're playing together really, really well right now. So that's been amazing because I have a pretty good chance of having my mornings to work, so I like to wake up early. I would not say that I have a morning routine because like I said, anything can throw off my routine or my schedule. But when things are going well, I usually wake up at 430 or five and I like to just use that time before anyone else is awake to do a little bit of journaling and maybe, you know, attack one task. Just try to find the most important thing that I need to get done and get it done before the kids wake up. Because there are days where that is the only work time that I have if if one of them is sick or something like that, and then they get up around six and we do breakfast and we have a bit of time together. And then I usually have a few hours to work. I take a snack break, of course, because if I don't, they will. They will let me know that they are hungry and it usually happens in the middle of a podcast recording. So I have to be very intentional about that. And then usually after lunch is a little bit more hit or miss.
[00:26:13] Are they are you home schooling them? Is that what you're saying?
[00:26:16] They are home schooled.
[00:26:17] Yeah, yeah.
[00:26:18] Yeah. So they're they're here all the time, which I love and I really like being flexible. And so especially in the Pacific Northwest at this time of year, we don't see a lot of sunshine. And last week we had a sunny day on our forecast. It was supposed to be sunny and 70 degrees, which is a major treat. And I didn't schedule a single thing. I was like, nope, I'm not I'm not working on the sunny day. And that was so nice just to have that flexibility and be able to spend that time with them and take them to the beach. So and then I do a lot of because we're a low waste family, I cook from scratch. And so I do spend quite a bit of time doing meal prep and and just even grocery shopping from time to time. So it's kind of an odd balance being a mom of young kids and being a low waste plant based mom who makes all of her own food and having a physical business and having a digital business, it really, really changes from day to day. If I'm balancing, trying to balance all of those roles or if I'm just fully in mom mode or what's going on.
[00:27:32] Hey, did you I was thinking did you tell me before we started that you could ship things or it's all in person stuff?
[00:27:40] Oh, yeah, we do have an online shop, so it's just ScoopMarketplace.com. So in addition to the bulk goods, I guess I didn't mention this, but in addition to the bulk goods, we sell a lot of different products. And so there are things, reusable products, things that you use in your everyday life. But we have found sustainable alternatives that are better for our bodies and better for the planet. So that might be instead of a plastic razor or really with plastic razors, you end up buying dozens or hundreds over time. We've got really beautiful stainless steel razors in our store and the blades can be recycled and turned into new things and all kinds of cool stuff like that. So we've got bamboo toothbrushes, we've got biodegradable floss because most floss has nylon in it. And so that's plastic. But we have floss that's made out of bamboo. And so there's a bunch of fun stuff on the website. And like I said, it's all stuff that we use every day. So when you run out of the thing that you have, when you run out of toothpaste or floss or dish soap or shampoo, you know, just check next time before you restock. Is there a better option out there that would be better for me and decrease my environmental impact?
[00:28:51] Yeah. I got recently this metal thing called a spork and it's like a spoon fork and it came with a metal straw, which, I mean, you could use it as a weapon, I think, but you know, that kind of stuff, you know? So instead of throwing stuff away all the time. Yeah, yeah. So now I understand you teach other people to do this, right?
[00:29:16] I do. When I yeah. When I was getting started and I was working on my business plan, I reached out to several people with stores and just ask them for help. You know, I just wanted to know, what steps did they take, how how did they get going and how's it working and what do they wish they'd known sooner? And people didn't really want to talk to me. And now that I'm a business owner myself, I think it was a because they didn't have time and B, I think it was I think there was kind of a defensive, competitive vibe, which I totally understand wanting to protect your your intellectual property and that their knowledge and experience is definitely valuable. That said, I even offered to pay for their time in some instances and they weren't interested. And so I decided very early on that I wanted to make sure I was ready to answer those questions and share resources with anyone who was coming behind and following that same path. So then of course, I started the business and I did have people emailing me regularly saying, Oh, I want to open a zero waste store. Can you meet for coffee? Can you answer some questions? And I didn't have time and I felt horrible about it.
[00:30:32] I had all these emails sitting in my inbox and I just didn't have time to respond to them, but I would think about them every single day. And at some point I just decided to sit down and record a digital course. So it's a roadmap for opening a zero waste store, and it takes them from the vision planning stage when it's just this baby business idea all the way to grand opening and beyond. So it's the exact steps that I took to open my store, but it's also everything that I've learned since then that would have been really helpful to have known earlier on in the process. So I just want to take the guesswork out of it. I want to simplify it as much as I can, because there are things I can't answer. I can't do tax planning for them. I can't find the best insurance for them. I can't tell them exactly how to get the right food permits in their city. But I can provide them with my systems and my standard operating procedures and the templates and spreadsheets that I use so that they don't have to recreate those things themselves.
[00:31:29] Yeah, a lot of people, you know, like those people that you try to get help from have a protectionist mentality instead of an abundance mentality. And if they really had the mission that you have of reducing waste, they would be wanting to spread this everywhere on earth.
[00:31:47] Right. So some people are a little bit posers in this in this field. So where are they? Where would they find that? Is it that course?
[00:31:57] So I have I wanted to make it as as easy as possible, since I know we have kind of a lot going on so. Scoopintelligence.com/walkgently that is the best place to go to just get quick links to everything that we offer, whether it's shopping online with us or our monthly box subscription or or how to open a zero waste store courses. We've got all of those listed right there. But in general, if you also go to ScoopMarketplace.com, you can usually find all the links you need to the other things to.
[00:32:30] All right. But you also have some type of summit coming up, right?
[00:32:34] Oh, yeah, yeah. We've got this summit in May. So it's going to be a virtual summit. It's called People, Planet and Profit. So this virtual summit is for values driven business owners who want to have a positive impact while growing a business that allows them to thrive. So what I've discovered in this eco space, in the sustainability space, is that there's talking about money and abundance and building wealth is is kind of taboo. And it's somewhat reminiscent actually of my conservative Christian upbringing, where if you value money and if you're trying to get more of it, then that's greedy. And you should be giving it back to the people and back to the community and back to the planet. But what's happened is that sensitive souls like myself have taken that a little bit too far, and we become martyrs to the sustainability space because we build these businesses accidentally that are giving everything back, and in exchange we no longer have a financially viable business. So it's this summit is an opportunity, one, for us to talk about money and talk about building a financially sustainable business that actually allows us to thrive so that we can increase our capacity for a positive impact.
[00:33:58] And to we're bringing in lots of guest speakers to teach on subjects that are going to help us to grow our businesses in those ways. So specifically for zero day shop owners like myself and like the people that I teach, you know, the things that we're most in need of would be related to marketing and hiring and building the right culture and ethical marketing and digital marketing and email marketing and e commerce marketing. So we have if you go to Scoop Intelligence, walk gently, you'll see a link for the PGP Summit and you can go and check out all of the guest speakers. We're still adding more guest speakers, so definitely pop back, but we've got a pretty good deal on those tickets through the end of April. Just in honor of Earth Month, it's scoop intelligence walk gently. That's where I'll have just a list of all of the links on in one place. If you go to ScoopMarketplace.com, you'll still be able to find everything by clicking around. But ScoopIntelligence.com/walkgently.
[00:35:01] Beautiful. Now there's one other thing I just thought of that I wanted to ask earlier, but I forgot is any of this Ukraine stuff with the B and the big wheat producers and any of the supply chain issues affecting you much?
[00:35:16] You know, I was just thinking about that this morning, actually, because I was reading an email about a potential recession and food issues and people starting to stockpile food again. And I was thinking back to 2020 when most of the conventional grocery stores were having a really hard time keeping products like flour and rice on hand. And we didn't really have a problem. And I think that's because part of our zero waste or low waste mission is to shop as locally as possible. So we whenever we have the opportunity, we purchase grains that are grown here in the Pacific Northwest, because that means that they had a lower carbon footprint trying to get from the place where they were grown to the place where they were processed and then into our store. And I think because of that, because we're working with a local food sourcing company and they are sourcing from local farmers, I think that's why we didn't really see an interruption in our sourcing. Obviously that could change. I haven't been able to predict anything that has happened in my business in the last three years, so it's impossible to know. But I think because we lean more heavily on our local economy, I am not as concerned about that as I would be otherwise.
[00:36:40] Now, what about pricing? Because fuel fuel costs have gone through the roof. I heard people saying fertilizer used to cost so much per £100 and now it's like, I don't know, eight times as much as some crazy amount. So are you watching that? Pretty close.
[00:36:59] Yeah. And just with the nature of grocery and grocery tends to have a smaller profit margin. It's something that we have to adjust every time we bring new product in the door. And I think that that is one of the biggest challenges that we face as zero waste markets or organic markets or specialty food stores. Because there's some sometimes people view us as being boutique or like a luxury market or something like that, and they don't necessarily understand that if some of our items are at a higher price, it's because of the ethics involved in the chain of getting that product into our store. So that means that everyone was paid ethically along the way and organic products cost more to produce and we have to be willing to to pay what it costs. And so sometimes when there is a change in prices, people just go back to the conventional grocery stores looking for the cheap product. What we don't always realize is that a cheap product, if you're getting a discount, it likely means that someone else has paid the price for you. So there may have been unethical labor practices involved. You know, somebody may have been exposed to horrifying chemicals to produce that product in such a cheap way for you. So there's just so much that goes into being a conscious consumer and really shopping intentionally. But if people are too caught up on the price, they might not be able to to take that thought process a step further and really be intentional about what businesses they're supporting with their dollars.
[00:38:40] Got it. Well, gee, this has been fascinating, Stephanie. Just definitely a different than what we are normal fare here on screw the commute so everybody check out scoopintelligence.com/walkgently to lead you to all the kinds of offerings that Stephanie has and then scoopmarketplace.com would be to order online, right?
[00:39:06] That's right.
[00:39:07] Well, thanks so much for coming on, Steph.
[00:39:09] Yeah, thank you for having me. This was fantastic.
[00:39:12] It was my pleasure. My pleasure. All right, everybody, check all that out. And she brings up a good thing we should all be thinking about is taking care of this planet and reducing our waste. And that's both of our waste, actually, planet waste in around your belt. So. All right. We'll catch everybody on the next episode. See you later.