Materials, products contribute to end goal of store

April 8, 2022

In preparation for the organization, Gary and Anqi researched the various environmental consequences humans have had on Earth. From climate change to the destruction of biodiversity to the immortal wastes like plastic, they have learned a lot about the major impacts that need to be focused on. 

“If you use a plastic bottle, it is really hard for it to disappear in the ground for thousands of years. So what if we could provide something that you can substitute it with that is more environmentally friendly to a customer as an option so we can help protect this environment in some way. That is when we thought we could open up a store and can bring different kinds of products that are environmentally friendly so that way customers can choose and try to make a little change in their daily life. Sometimes a little change can actually go a long way,” Anqi said.

Inside their store, shirts made out of bamboo and bowls made out of coconuts have further developed their vision, but not to the full extent. While 100% of Environmentalistic’s profits are already set aside helping the environment, they have also created a non-profit organization called The Environmentalists to be at the forefront of their mission to help spread the word. Weisar is also involved in the non-profit, which was given a 501(c) status in January.

“Our goal is more to connect with nature and connect with people to promote this idea. I would say selling products is step one for our business plan to attract people. This way people see the store and begin to realize they can make a change just by little nice gestures. We hope that when people visit our store, they tell other people about it which starts a conversation about not only the store, but the environment. Eventually, we want to make our store a gathering place for people to brainstorm ideas in ways to save our environment,” Anqi said. 

Anqi and Gary hope to gain more individuals with different insight, experience and knowledge in order to expand and accomplish their goals of impacting the political system as well as creating a better community. Weisar has brought some new ideas to the table, excited to have flexibility to express her own objectives. 

“I’m thinking [about] restoration work, community gardens, anything with guest speakers, getting rid of invasive species. Anything and everything, I’m here for it. One of the things I love about getting on so early in the process is this can be whatever I want it to be like, I have a lot of [say],” she said. 

Starting in a similar manner, the well-known Patagonia clothing brand has served as a source of inspiration for Gary. Though his business is only just developing, the team has come up with several ideas to support awareness, from documentaries to collaborative community events.  

“The biggest mission for Environmentalistic is to be a brand that people can be proud of, that shows that they care about the environment and about the planet, while their dollars are going to real work for real purpose,” Gary said. 

On April 23-24, Gary, Anqi and Virginia will represent the Environmentalists at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival in Forest Park. Along with The Environmentalists, other local businesses and organizations will be present at the event. 

Although they all aim at keeping the present-day Earth a clean place, the group’s main goal is to have a positive impact on the Earth for their future.  

“If everybody tries to change something, even if it is something small in their life, that helps too and can make a big difference,” Anqi said. “We want to preserve this beautiful environment, not only for us but for other generations to come.”

Virginia Weisar and Gary Rickerd stand in the front of the store. Weisar and Rickerd have many aspirations for the organization, including community projects and events. Photo by Juli Mejia.
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Juli Mejia, Editor In Chief

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