Bee Joyful Zero Waste & Refill shop, Michigan’s first zero-waste, and refill station opened its second shop in Dexter, Michigan on Friday, April 2.
Jessica Thompson, the owner of Bee Joyful and a single mother of 12 years, says that the inspiration for the shop did not start with the shop but with an idea. Thompson first started making reusable bags for her five children in 2017 to cut down plastic waste in their own homes. She then got the inspiration to begin selling the reusable bags on an Etsy shop on April 7, 2017.
Thompson admits that the process of opening shops during the Covid-19 pandemic was a hurdle, but their passion to enlighten and encourage others to use plastic-free alternatives and environmentally friendly products is very important for her. One of Thompson’s hopes is that customers will see that making the switch to environmentally conscious products is not ‘weird’ as some have called it and should not be difficult.
“I just hope that people are able to see that these opportunities are out there. That they don’t have to shop what they’ve always shopped that hopefully they’re able to come in and see a new way of thinking and we’re able to kind of encourage them to make these changes and even if they come in and don’t purchase anything maybe they’re just inspired to do something different at their house,” Thompson said.
Thompson admits that the opening of the first shop was delayed because of the state shutdown in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, the first shop experienced great success, garnering people hours away and even catching the eye of citizens from different states in the country as they sought the environmentally friendly options provided by the store.
Six months after the opening of the new store, Thompson began the journey to open a new location on the eastern side of Michigan. She hopes that with the expansion of shop locations, that customers will be comfortable enough to visit during the pandemic without going too far away from their homes to visit the shop during the pandemic and without having to drive so far.
Ellie Haase, one of Jessica’s daughters and an employee of the shop, says that working at the shop has given them the opportunity to meet people, “...who are also on the same journey of trying to figure out how to be more sustainable.”
The new Bee Joyful Zero Waste & Refill Shop is located on 3203 Broad Street, Dexter, Michigan, and offers reusable bags, laundry detergent, bath products like shampoo and condition, and a refill station with 50-60 items. The new location opened on Friday, April 2, with both in-person and curbside pick-up available for customers.
You can visit Bee Joyful Zero Waste & Refill Shop’s online store here.