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Simply Bulk store saves money and reduces waste

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Simply Bulk Market in Longmont, Colorado, sells only bulk items, cutting waste for the planet and saving money for shoppers. Might we see this model duplicated nationally?

Earlier this week, I got a personalized tour of Simply Bulk Market, a three-year-old store in Longmont, Colorado, that sells bulk items exclusively.

It’s a lovely, spotlessly clean, and inviting store, and talking with owner Phil Bratty gave me further education into the benefits of bulk—and why this kind of store concept is attracting an entirely new generation of health-minded shoppers.

Why bulk only?

Phil and his wife, Georgia, launched Simply Bulk three years ago. With 28 years of retail experience, Phil says the idea for Simply Bulk “started with a couple glasses of wine … I got to know bulk when I worked at Wild Oats, I’ve always been a retailer, and I’ve always had a thing about [excessive] packaging—I just couldn’t accept it. And I wanted to see if I could have an impact on packaging waste.”

He says there are three kinds of shoppers: “Those with experience shopping bulk, who grew up in the health-food movement of the 70s; the middle gap, who want to eat healthy but are not quite sure about bulk; and the younger generation, who sees that they can save money and eat better” by buying in bulk.

So far, it’s working: Simply Bulk has seen double-digit growth every year since it opened. People find him through word of mouth, he says, and then they’re hooked by how much money they can save by reusing their own containers and buying only what they need.

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