Environmentalistic is a new shop located at the St. Louis Premium Outlets, across from Adidas and Levi’s. It opened at the end of 2021 and sells a variety of clothes and objects that are all environmentally friendly. As the official owners of the business, Anqi and Gary have both worked to develop the business.
“My husband helped me to realize this dream because we work together, we are teammates. While I provide capital and ideas, such as coming up with ideas for who should be our suppliers for our products, my husband puts my thoughts and ideas into practice,” Anqi said.
Hand-in-hand, the couple has begun their journey to spread awareness about several environmental concerns surrounding the planet today. One of the most challenging obstacles they have encountered during the process is the actual retail aspect, as they have had little experience.
“It’s been a challenge in the sense of traditional retail, to make that up with the mission that we have, and finding a way to bridge the gap between [our mission and] what consumers want, what’s going to bring them into the store. That’s something that’s still a work in progress,” Gary said.
The store has continued to make progress as Gary and Virginia Weisar, an employee, have worked to print-press shirts and come up with interactive commodities like a couch, TVs and even a chalkboard to draw people in. The team is also working to get more publicity, planning on creating an online store and creating media content to reach out to the Chesterfield community.
“Missouri is actually very active in its volunteering community. You don’t have to necessarily join an entire group, you don’t have to go through the training and join the ecological center, but every now and then a lot of organizations will have very short days [for volunteering]. Maybe they’ll have one day where they go and they pick up trash or one day where they go and plant trees. If you’re wanting to step into it, that’s great because there’s not really any commitment,” Weisar said.
Weisar has been on the team since the beginning, working the weekend shifts and helping develop the store and organization.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I have to find a job that I like and I have to do it until I hate it, and then I retire. But that’s not really what happened to me. I found this and I like it but then I also have time to do the things I really love,” she said.
Weisar grew up in St. Charles, attending Francis Howell North High School until she attended SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York and graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental resources engineering. At 20 years old, Weisar now volunteers at Litzsinger Ecology Center on top of other environmental involvements.
“When I was transferring, I was like, Oh, I’m going to go be an engineer. I am going to go climb the corporate ladder. But then by the end of school, I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this. I want to do something that’s fulfilling to me,’” she said.
For Weisar, awareness is an important step to bettering environmental conflicts, especially for a planet that cannot protest for itself.
“The Earth doesn’t speak English, it speaks ‘nature’, so we have to be advocates for our own planet. I think a lot of people are really in tune with that. They want to help, they want to save the world, but it’s in the back of their minds. We want to bring it to the front,” she said.
The store leaves the door open to let sunlight in. The inside has several displays of shirts, hoodies and accessories along with couches and books.