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Simply Bulk store saves money and reduces waste

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?

Phil contacted me after “Your Gluten-Free Pantry” appeared in our May issue, in which I wrote: “To avoid cross-contamination, buy packaged instead of from bulk.” He countered with the following comment:

“As a retailer focused just on selling bulk products, I found your writing somewhat extreme. Maybe just ‘use caution when buying out of bulk bins’ would have been more appropriate.”

When someone comes into Simply Bulk asking whether he has “anything gluten-free,” Phil knows that the key question to ask is, “What’s your level of concern?” He agrees that for people with celiac disease, “you probably need packaged food.” For someone less in need of meticulously avoiding even the smallest trace of gluten, he shows them all of his naturally gluten-free, healthy items (beans, lentils, rice, quinoa, etc) and the precautions he takes to avoid cross-contamination. 

I was impressed when I saw his section of gluten-free flours, for example. All of them are grouped together at the end of the dry-goods barrels, with non-spreading GF items, such as salt and sugar, forming a natural barrier to the regular flours.

Separating items this way likely wouldn’t convince someone with celiac disease to tempt fate—but for everyone who eats gluten free without such a strict need for meticulous gluten avoidance, Simply Bulk offers myriad healthy, gluten-free items at a fraction of cost of prepackaged versions. (Download our free Guide to Gluten-Free Living for more information and recipes.)

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