I don't know about you, but every time I go into a 7-Eleven, I feel like I've entered a time warp—and not in a good way. The uber-processed foods I used to eat with abandon as a child (ignorance is bliss...and a stomachache) fill the aisles along with what I consider to be old-school cleaning and self-care products (read: also full of chemicals).
Step foot inside Los Angeles' new "better-for-you" convenience store The Goods Mart, founded by PR maven Rachel Krupa, on the other hand, and it feels like you've been transported to the future. Its shelves are lined with your quick-stop favorites—think Starbursts, potato chips, and even slushies—sans artificial colors, sweeteners, GMOs, growth hormones, hormone disruptors, nitrates, antibiotics, and pesticides. Additionally, no single-serve plastic bottles are allowed on her shelves, all personal hygiene necessities are clean, and the aforementioned slushies are kombucha-based—to name a few of the ways in which Krupa's store is a wellness obsessive's dream.
Its shelves are lined with your quick-stop favorites—think Starbursts, potato chips, and even slushies—sans artificial colors, sweeteners, GMOs, growth hormones, hormone disruptors, nitrates, antibiotics, and pesticides.
Krupa's PR firm is similarly dedicated to nutritious food and wellness brands—but her client list hasn't always been so health-conscious. She tells me she repped snack food companies with less mindful ingredients lists (among other clients) until she had a lightbulb moment in 2012 while paging through a newbie Zagat competitor called Clean Plates. "I was like, 'Why are we pushing brands I wouldn't eat?'" she says as we tour her bright, minimalist corner store.
From there, Krupa's enthusiasm grew to include sustainable brands in addition to healthy ones. She tells me that when her client Barnana—which is now carried in her store, too—explained to her that they use "ugly" bananas to make their product, she was blown away. The Goods now sells similarly cosmetically-challenged fruit that would otherwise be thrown away for $0.50 ($0.75 for a banana) through a partnership with local farm box-purveyor Grub Market.
Amid its progressive products, The Goods Mart does have one much-missed relic from the past: community. Store clerks chat you up in a non-sales-pitch way while you shop and locals greet one another like it's 1955. Plus, there's a sustainable seating area for posting up to drink your $1.25 La Colombe coffee as you flip through a newspaper (both also sold here).
It was with community at the front of her mind that Krupa communicated with every single brand she carries to keep prices down and worked hard to curate a selection of high-and low-cost products in each category (e.g. Kettle Chips, $2.95 for a 5-oz bag, and Jackson's Honest, $4 for a 5-oz bag) that meet her ingredient standards. She also avoids language in the store (like "organic") that might translate as "expensive." Accessibility has been such a mission for Krupa, in fact, that she gets emotional while telling me the story of a customer who thanked her for the reasonable price of her Dave's Killer Bread.
What's more, the business donates all tips to charity, and has already raised an impressive amount of money for its first partner, Lunch On Me. (They also donate day-old baked goods from Bakers Kneaded and other still-good food that would otherwise be thrown out to the cause, which supports LA's homeless population). When I express my astonishment at this, Krupa tells me she believes people want to give back, and that this is the entire premise of the store. "I named it The Goods, like, 'I've got the goods,'" she explains. "But then I thought, 'What if we were also centered around doing good?'"
Now, with that lofty concept a brick-and-mortar reality, Krupa tells me that when customers—like the aforementioned woman with the bread—express gratitude for the store, her knee-jerk reaction is always, "'No, thank you. Thank you for supporting this.'"
Now hungry for healthy snacks? Here are 8 you can stuff into your desk drawers for times like these. Plus, find out what the model contingent digs into when the 4 p.m. slump hits.
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