THE JUGGERY: A Zero-Waste Shop Poppin’ Up In E.C.
this small biz will be the first of its kind in the Valley
If you’ve never been to a zero-waste store before, you’ll get your chance soon! The Juggery is going to be poppin’ up – literally – by August in the Eau Claire area.
Greta Gunnarson, a La Crosse native who moved to Eau Claire in 2020 after graduating from UW-Platteville, is tackling small-biz life thanks to her growing passion for sustainably, which planted its roots after moving to the Valley, she said.
“(Sustainability) is something I’ve always sort of thought about in a health and going green way in general, but I didn't do it very well for a long time because it’s just not something I was taught,” Gunnarson explained. “Really, when I moved here is when I learned more about it. I didn’t know all the ways you could do things that are better for the Earth, more than just recycling.”
The Juggery will encourage a zero-waste lifestyle, even if done imperfectly. In Gunnarson’s view, approaching zero-waste living with the expectation of just doing what you can is more than enough for those starting out.
In Wisconsin alone, nearly 750,000 tons of plastic ended up in landfills during 2020-2021, with plastic bottles making up a large share of that amount, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
“There’s a whole phrase like, ‘We need more people to do it imperfectly than some people doing it perfectly.’ I’d rather have people pick and choose what they want to do with zero waste and find out what works for them,” Gunnarson said.
Essentially, The Juggery will begin as a one-stop pop-up space for people to bring their own reusable containers and fill them up, paying just for the amount they take. Gunnarson said she will start out carrying essentials such as various kinds of body soap, shampoo and conditioner, liquid and powder laundry detergent, lotion, and other reusable or biodegradable products.
“Part of the name, ‘The Juggery,’ is because a lot of the stuff is going to be sold in big jugs where you bring your own container and fill it with whatever you need,” she explained. “Kind of like a lemonade or drink container (with a faucet head).”
Inspired by a trip to a Twin Cities zero-waste shop some time ago, Gunnarson wanted to be the one to bring a zero-waste shop space to the Eau Claire area, as someone also learning how to better practice sustainability every day. She took a course specific to zero-waste businesses from a woman who started up a zero-waste grocery store in Seattle, and since then, has been learning the ins and outs of how to run a small business.
“In the early stages, just thinking about doing this made me really sweaty and excited at the same time,” Gunnarson said. “I want to achieve this dream, and there’s totally a sustainability movement and community here already, so, we’re ready for this.”
Having already secured an LLC and received permits from the city, Gunnarson then reached out to area farmers markets to see if there was an open space for a Juggery pop-up. The Bridge Street and Mall Drive Festival Foods farmers market will be home to the first pop-ups, hopefully by August, on Sundays and Mondays.
Though she’s still securing more products and settling the background financials of small biz life, Gunnarson hopes to have a brick-and-mortar space in the future, though working on The Juggery alongside her two other jobs has kept her busy enough for the moment.
Find out when The Juggery will pop up near you by keepin’ up with them on Instagram at @thejuggery.