The planet called and two entrepreneurs answered.
Tyler Knight and Allie Fry knew Orillia needed a zero-waste store, and that’s what gave birth to the Refillery District.
“We felt we could make a difference in our community, and eventually the planet,” said Tyler.
“We wanted to make it accessible for everybody so it would catch on”, said Allie. And that’s exactly what happened with their store at 18 Mississaga Street E. downtown Orillia.
“We were so passionate that we were sure we would make it work,” said Tyler. Encouragement and support from the Community Development Corp. (CDC) in Orillia gave them the boost to go for it.
From experience, Tyler knew the CDC would be the best place to start.
“We knew they would be able to give us an honest opinion,” he said. “The response from the staff was an overwhelming yes.”
The CDC staff guided them about the business plan and cash-flow projections to see if it was a viable and sustainable idea. Once that was done, they helped the two acquire financing within a week.
“With that, we were able to start with a bigger inventory to make for a full grocery shopping experience for everyone,” explained Tyler.
“The CDC was very involved in the process and pushed us to keep things rolling and informed us about anything we could take advantage of,” he added.
Moreover, Allie expressed that support gave them both confidence, and with the CDC’s help, they were able to hire employees through the 2018 Youth Wage Subsidy Program.
Customers can go to the Refillery District and shop using reusable containers. The store carries a variety of products, such as free-range meat, produce, household cleaners, bath & beauty items, and zero-waste items, for instance, reusable straws and beeswax wraps.
“Everything is as locally sourced as possible, and that suits the conscious-minded Orillia community”, said Allie.
“That’s what it comes down to,” she said. “If you have a relationship with nature, you’re more apt to act responsibly towards it.”
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