Updated: Aug 19
Greetings Retail Design Institute Southern California Chapter members!
Here we are, in the thick of the hot summer weather…..how are we all doing so far? Anyone get a chance to take a dip and cool off? Hope you’re all taking lots of beach days to take advantage of those long daylight hours before sunset. The Retail Design Institute is gearing up for our first virtual event of the year, see below for the link to register, and we have a very special spotlight series on a grocery retailer that is helping us become more sustainable consumers by eliminating plastic waste packaging.
Did you know the Southern California Chapter includes the regions of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Hawaii? It’s true! If you know any innovative store experiences, retail companies, or consultants in any of these areas please let us know! We’d love to spotlight them in this series.
How do we shop sustainably? Buying local and organic food is a very
good way. How about all the plastic packaging that is going straight to landfill and contaminating our water and food supply? Wouldn’t it be great to reduce all that plastic waste from our planet? Bringing your own reusable bags to shop with is a very sustainable choice. But Re_grocery takes it several steps further by stocking their entire store with refillable bulk goods and making it easy to fill your zero-waste containers and check out with their proprietary NFC tag system. It’s seamless and intuitive! By creating an entire package-free grocery store, Re_grocery is redefining our food shopping experience, both from an environmental perspective and an aesthetic one…their stores are beautiful!
We spoke to Joseph Macrino, CEO and co-founder of Re_, and learned more about this innovative new business.
What is the re_ grocery origin story? What prompted the idea and were there any influences?
re_ was started by myself and my wife, Lauren. Lauren’s background is in design and branding and mine is in food and beverage. We are both passionate about low-waste living, but were finding it so difficult to accomplish day-to-day, particularly when it came to grocery shopping. We were frustrated with the lack of truly sustainable options and felt there was a real opportunity to create a whole store full of all the refillable products you could ever dream of! Our vision is a holistic grocery experience that removes the need for plastic packaging altogether. We want to make it easy and affordable to shop sustainably. We worked on re_ in the evenings while still at our day jobs and then officially opened our first store in Highland Park, Los Angeles on Earth Day 2020. We now have two new stores in Mar Vista and Studio City.
What is Re Grocery’s mission? What do you hope to achieve for the community and the environment?
re_ makes it easy and affordable to shop sustainably, helping our customers make a real difference without sacrificing convenience. By making conscious grocery shopping more accessible, we hope to make plastic packaging obsolete——for a healthy community and a healthy planet. As part of our commitment to ethical and sustainable business we are proud to be a certified B Corporation. Becoming B Corp certified is a way to hold ourselves accountable, to measure our current impact and to put in place the structures to be able to continue to grow our business in the most sustainable, transparent and ethical way we can.
Tell us about the design palette, merchandising and transactional practices that makes the store function so intuitively.
We’ve curated hundreds of the highest-quality refillable bulk goods and low-waste products in a beautiful, effortless experience, both in store and online. Lauren’s background as a designer and art director informed the store design. For inspiration, we look outside the typical grocery aesthetic, aiming to showcase food in its simplest form. Product is merchandised in our custom-designed containers, encouraging uniformity. The store is an extension of the re_ brand experience and philosophy, constructed with sustainable plywood materials that feels open and welcoming.
We encourage you to bring your own reusable containers to refill from home, but we also have 100% post-consumer recycled paper bags or reusable glass jars/bottles for purchase. Technology is at the forefront of re_, making shopping in bulk easy, intuitive and interactive. The first thing to do in store is weigh your containers and tag them with our proprietary tare system. Each food bin features a label and a QR code to scan for more in-depth product knowledge. It’s as easy as filling up with as little or as much product as you’d like.
What’s in store for the future of Re Grocery?
We’re planning to expand into new neighborhoods to make sustainability more accessible for all Angelenos – let us know if you have any properties in mind! We’re also always looking for ways to improve the customer experience – we just launched a loyalty program this spring and our next big project is integrating an automated liquid dispensing system into our bath & body section at all locations. Stay tuned!
Cannabis Dispensary Design…a Virtual Symposium, July 27 3:00-4:00pm PT
Explore the unique design process of building a dispensary store, from the seedlings of an idea to the flowering of a new industry.
Come join us for a special virtual-only event on the hot new retail sector sweeping the nation – Cannabis Dispensaries! We will see some great designs and hear from insiders of the industry on how it all happens. From R&D through design development to finished construction and a grand opening, we will hear from a wide array of stakeholders.
Business owners, designers, merchandisers, millworkers and facilitators will discuss what sets dispensaries apart from the rest of the retail industry and touch upon the wide variety of trends we’ve already seen in this still young market. We will hear the challenges, unique opportunities and successful solutions to how a dispensary gets built.
There will be a membership raffle sponsored by Chandler Design + Fabrication so be sure to register for a chance to win!
Retail Design Institute Southern California Chapter has a few openings on the board and are looking for a Chapter Secretary as well as a Communications Chair. The Chapter Secretary will be in charge of monthly meeting minutes and our communications and announcements through various platforms as well as being an active board member that participates in quarterly board of directors meetings with the International Office. The Communications Chair will be heading our marketing and PR, managing and maintaining our web and social media presence and collaborating with the Secretary on external/internal communications.
If you or someone you know is interested in either position, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.