London zero package grocery store raises over $88,000 in support

Grocery prices are shooting up. Heat and drought are partly to blame for the hit to consumers. via Reimagine Co/Facebook

A campaign that starting with a goal of raising $50,000 to open London’s first package-free grocery store has surpassed its target.

The owners of Reimagine CO, husband and wife co-founders Kara Rijnen and Heenal Rajani, launched the campaign on Sept. 15 to build a new location for their zero waste shop in London.

The campaign for the new location of the package-free grocery store gained a lot of traction early on, reaching its initial goal within a week of the campaign launch.

Since closing on Oct. 15, the campaign amassed $88,135 from 865 people.

Read more: London, Ont.’s Reimagine Co. dreams bigger after overwhelming support for grocery store

Renovations on the new location, 206 Piccadilly St., have already begun. A city building inspection and a pre-inspection by the health unit went smoothly, Rijnen and Rajani said in a release.

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“Next up is the drywall team, and after that, it’s time to paint, move equipment in, and get our package-free groceries onto the shelves and into the bulk bins and coolers,” Rijnen said.

She said they are “beyond grateful” for everyone who supported the campaign.

The business, which had been operating a storefront out of 211 King St. in the old Novack’s building and a space in the Western Fair Market, is moving to the new Piccadilly Street location, southwest of Richmond and Oxford streets.

All of the money donated to the campaign is being used to help with the store’s initial start-up costs.

The initial $50,000 goal was dedicated to renovations like painting, patching floors, and buying standard equipment like shelving, scales and display units.

With the additional funds, the owners said they will be investing in some luxury items like a juicer, a nut grinder, a plant-based milkshake machine, juice and milk dispensers, and more.

Read more: Ottawa pushing ahead with plan to ban single-use plastics by end of 2021

Everyone who did donate will get the same amount back as in-store credit.

At the beginning of October, the federal government announced it was moving ahead with plans to ban single-use plastics by the end of 2021.

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The ban will see the elimination of single-use plastics like grocery bags, six-pack rings, and some food ware made of hard-to-recycle plastics.

London’s package-free grocery store will allow people to bring their own refillable containers to do their shopping and eliminate plastic wrap on the packaging.

The owners hope to open the new store by November 2020.

— With files from Jacquelyn LeBel and Amanda Connolly Global News

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