Alyssa Ndombeson has spent years researching ways to produce less waste.
After successfully launching a lifestyle blog on social media with tips and tricks for living with less, Ndombeson opened a zero-waste store in Fresno: Good filling.
The store is at 529 E. Shields between Fruit and Palm avenues.
“So I knew this idea was something that people were looking for and really wanted to incorporate,” Ndombeson said. “So I’m constantly trying to find ways to make it easier, more accessible for people to reduce their waste and create those daily habits.”
Zero waste options to start the change
Ndombeson says she doesn’t recommend people start by throwing everything away. Instead, she says, start by using what you have and once a product is old or broken, move on to reusable or durable products.
Ndombeson’s shop offers refill options and reusable and durable products.
For example, customers can purchase dental care items such as wooden toothbrushes, as well as toothpaste tablets and dental floss.
It also offers care and kitchen products that customers can refill. These include shampoos, conditioners, lotions, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaners. and laundry detergent.
In the future, Ndombeson hopes to be able to offer food and snacks like free loose tea, pasta, rice, beans, oats and cooking oils.
“The possibilities are endless,” Ndombeson said. “My vision for Good Fill is to be kind of like a farmer’s market where you can get things in bulk and bring your own containers and reuse them and really be like a packaging-free store that has just about anything you might want. need to live.”
Interest in the zero waste lifestyle is growing
Often common in places like San Francisco and Los Angeles, zero-waste stores aren’t the norm in the Central Valley. But demand for these stores has grown as more consumers begin to consciously buy products that produce less waste.
Not to mention that during the pandemic, Fresno has seen an influx of San Francisco and Los Angeles residents who are actively seeking stores like Good Fill.
Ndombeson says many of his customers moved from coastal towns to Fresno and searched the area for stores like his.
said Ndombeson. “And I’m like, well, what about Fresno? Because Fresno has a very large population and there’s a huge opportunity here to make this more accessible for people trying to reduce their waste and make it a community thing,” Ndombeson said.
Millions of zero waste videos and photos are on social media with tips on how to live a zero waste lifestyle.
In fact, Ndombeson started doing the same with her zero waste lifestyle brand and her Instagram account, GD.STWRD which means “to be a good steward”.
She shares videos and eco-tips on how to gradually use fewer products.
Fresno City College helps small businesses get started
After building two successful businesses, a faith-based t-shirt business and a decluttering organizational services company, Ndombeson launched his online store in March 2020.
Ndombeson says she took a entrepreneurship and business class at Fresno City College in the fall of 2019. There, she had several mentors and professors who motivated her to try another startup.
So she created a business plan and applied to be part of the Spark Tank Pitch Contest, which is hosted by Fresno Pacific University’s Community for Transformation Program.
She won nearly $5,000 in funding, which helped her buy the materials needed to open.
Later, as his business became more popular, Ndombeson was offered space to host an in-person shop in the plant store. Let it grow alongside other small businesses.
Green stores collaborate
Ndombeson says he met the owners of Let it grow after partnering with them when they held vendor events outside on their porch. The store now hosts The Fresno Bus Book and a skincare store offering facials.
She says the proximity to stores helps everyone grow their customer base.
“It’s really fun because we also share ideas with each other,” Ndombeson said. “Our customers are somewhat similar and so people who love houseplants are also interested in waste reduction and also love reading and skin care products.”
The pandemic has helped boost business
During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and stores banned the use of reusable bags. Uncertainty and fear about how the virus was transmitted has led businesses and businesses to revert to single-use plastic bags and utensils as a precaution against the spread of the virus.
However, Ndombeson’s business grew as many people adapted to online shopping and looked for ways to buy in bulk while still sticking to the zero waste trend.
Through his online store, Ndombeson says he gained new customers who appreciated that the items were delivered to their homes.
“I would take all the jugs to people’s homes, then they would leave their containers on their porch, then I would fill them up and put them back on the porch,” Ndombeson said. “So there was no face-to-face contact and it was very well received.”
Store hours and location
You can visit Good Fill inside the Let It Grow store at 529 E. Shields Fresno, CA
Good Fill is open Thursday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.