Located in the Horwoods Mall the Yukon Refillery is an exciting new low-waste business in Whitehorse. They offer a range of high quality environmentally conscious personal care, household cleaning, and laundry products for sale by weight using your own re-used containers.
We sat down with Michelle who opened the business with her husband (Baird) this year. The business idea started early in 2020 and plans were made for a permanent location opening in March of 2020. That is until COVID upended plans for many small businesses including The Refillery. They then shifted to an alternative plan where they would get the business started at the Fireweed Market over the summer. Although delayed, an official storefront was opened in October at the Horwoods Mall.
In the brightly lit modern space, you can find laundry soap, dish detergent, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, surface cleaners, toothpaste, deodorant, and other products. Simply bring in re-usable containers and they can be filled with whatever you are looking for. If you forget a container they stock a “Container Library” of washed and re-used glass containers. They are building their stock with an ethos of as local as possible and as sustainable as possible. Currently they carry North American brands including Pure Line, Sensibility, Sapadilla, Bottle None, and Oneka. They also hope to hear from customers about what products they would love to see to help build the inventory.
So far, The Refillery has limited opening hours on Friday and Saturday but the community enthusiasm remains high. When we were there customers were consistently coming and going, reflecting a demand for low-waste shipping options.
In the last few years, a wave of low-waste bulk retailers using this model has spread across the continent. It is hard to deny the advantages of this type of shopping. For one you are decreasing your waste by re-using packaging. Secondly, you get to choose the volume you would like to purchase. That means you are not restricted by the manufacturer to buy a large volume of something you know you need or conversely a small amount of a product to try it without spending much money.
Opening this business and getting a retail location in the midst of COVID is a huge achievement for a family run business. At this time, the goal of the business is to grow their opening hours and establish an inventory of items sought in the community. In the future, they would like to expand beyond home and personal care items towards food products.
We are excited that amidst the challenges of 2020, an exciting low-waste business is succeeding in our community. The Yukon Refillery is without a doubt a Zero Hero business!
Follow The Yukon Refillery on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/yukonrefillery) and instagram @yukonrefillery.