The owner of a new store featuring planet-friendly goods admits she’s not a perfect eco-warrior, and she doesn’t think you have to be either.
Adrienne Grolbert said she’s notorious for forgetting her reusable shopping bags and either juggling an armful of groceries back to her car or taking a single-use plastic bag. But the 37-year-old Parker resident who describes herself as “crunchy-lite” has a passion for helping people minimize what goes into landfills.
Grolbert opened Refillary at the corner of Parker Road and Parker Square Drive five months ago. The shop sells household and personal care goods from bulk containers as well as reusable items that support a low-waste lifestyle.
When customers visit Refillary, they pump lotions, body washes and cleaning solutions from 5-gallon buckets and 55-gallon drums into containers they’ve brought from home. People can decrease waste by reusing a shampoo bottle or detergent jug, Grolbert said.
“Why not save it and bring it into a place where you can refill it and then reduce a piece of plastic that just ends up in a landfill?” she said.
In addition to running Refillary, Grolbert works full time in the health care industry. Both jobs allow her to make others’ lives a little better, which just feels good, she said.
“I can help people this way too,” Grolbert said of her new venture. “I can help the environment which then, of course, helps people as well.”
While shopping at Refillary is not as cheap as shopping at Walmart or Costco, Grolbert said she strives to keep the price of her goods comparable to those of brands like Method and Seventh Generation. Product ingredients, which are listed in the store and on the website, are people and planet friendly. Plus everything in the store is manufactured in the United States.
Grolbert started her business with items that have broad appeal like shampoo and multi-surface cleaner. Now she’s getting to know customers and homing in on the particular products that people in Douglas County are looking for. Two of her best sellers are package-free bar soap and toothpaste tablets. Recent additions to the store, based on customer requests, include rose water, witch hazel and refillable candles.
“It is truly an experiment because most refill shops, if you look around the country, are in more urban areas,” Grolbert said.
Yet she thinks refilling works for suburbanites too. Especially if it’s accessible.
For Grolbert, accessible means a lot of things. It means a store that’s airy, bright and appealing. Somewhere that doesn’t require a drive into Denver is nice. But most of all, it means a place where everyone understands that life is busy, complicated and imperfect.
“There’s this idea that if you’re not like 100% gung-ho — everything low waste, zero waste, eco-friendly, whatever — then why bother? That’s the mentality I want to get away from,” Grolbert said. “If all you can do is come in and refill your hand soap sometimes, that’s awesome.”