I love the holiday season. To me, this time of year means spending time with my loved ones, hiking in the Minnesota snow with my chocolate lab by my side, enjoying a warm crackling fire, and lots of egg nog. It is also a time of giving and receiving gifts. Zero waste gift giving can be easy, fun, and totally affordable. Check out my blog post on Zero Waste Gifts and Wrapping for some of my best ideas of giving zero waste gifts.
One of my favorite places to shop for zero waste goodies is Arlee Park (and I will definitely be visiting there to pick up a few stocking stuffers before Christmas morning!). Arlee Park is located in the Keewaydin neighborhood of Minneapolis and offers almost entirely thrifted and vintage goods of all kinds – mugs, sweaters, decor, clothing, and more. Arlee Park is owned and operated by an amazing sister duo, Ashley and Jamie.
I sat down with the owners (okay, we actually just emailed from our respective computers), and interviewed them about Arlee Park and sustainability.
Q: What are some things that you are doing to be a sustainable company?
A: The majority of the items at Arlee Park are secondhand items. Of those secondhand items, the majority are vintage. Since the beginning, we’ve been curating a cohesive mix of secondhand items to show our customers how they can still be used in a modern space. Besides making secondhand items the forefront of what we sell at Arlee Park, we do everything we can to implement sustainability where possible. This is as simple as reusing any and all packaging that we receive whether it’s through shipments for supplies for the shop or boxes and bags that we receive from sourcing our items. We save bubble wrap, packaging paper and boxes to reuse when we ship out our items. Even when we go out thrifting, we will turn down bags when items are easily packed in amongst themselves. Recycling is also a priority when we’re not able to reuse any paper, glass or plastic. Being socially sustainable is always kept in mind as well. We always offer donations at the checkout when we are thrifting, even if it’s rounding up to the next dollar, those extra cents are going to a great cause, often times put right back into the community.
Q: What is it about secondhand items that draws you to them?
A: Whether you’re able to find it out or not, you know those items have history. And anything with history has so much character, especially the vintage gems. You know they’re also built to last when they’ve seen more decades than you have. And most of the time, these are items that have inspired what’s being produced today. Why not love the original even more than the brand new? Consumers are always wanting what’s new, but loving secondhand items should bring more joy when you know you’re stretching the lifespan of something that won’t just end up in a landfill.
Q: How do you see Arlee Park growing and developing?
A: We’re constantly exploring, brainstorming, and chatting about ways to grow Arlee Park. Since secondhand items, primarily vintage, are our priority, we’ve also been incorporating some modern items in our shop since we’re wanting to show individuals that mixing the two is possible. Not only do we have some modern secondhand items, we’ve been collaborating with makers on exclusive Arlee Park lines. Handmade items are known for their extra care and precision resulting in much more well made and durable products instead of something that’s machine made. With this comes a sustainability factor. We’re also currently releasing some handmade brass items that are stamped with the Arlee Park logo. We’re always open to seizing opportunities that will expand the offerings at Arlee Park while still keeping all we stand for in mind.
Q: What is your favorite item in your store right now?
A: We recently came out with a gift set that is perfect for the holidays! It includes a handmade brass dish (made by Ashley’s husband), a bundle of palo santo, a zeolite crystal, and some matches and tea light candle for lighting your palo santo. We “palo santo” the shop every day and since brass items and crystals are always found throughout the store, we thought a little set of everything we love would make a dandy little gift option!
Visit Arlee Park at 3000 E 50th Street in Minneapolis!