One of the things we want to do with our blog is to highlight local community members or businesses that are doing their part to be eco-conscious. It’s exciting and refreshing to hear what others are doing. Big changes are happening in the Wenatchee Valley and we want you to know about it!
Lisa Stanton, owner of Lisa Bee’s Bistro, Bakery and Produce Market, is one local entrepreneur who is doing her part to make a difference. Lisa’s store is on her 20 acre farm just outside of East Wenatchee on Highway 2. Since becoming a part of the Tread Lightly Friday program, Lisa has been making changes, one at time, to becoming more responsible for the kinds of products that are coming out of her business. Their slogan “not your average fruit stand” is really true. In addition to local fruit, Lisa Bee’s offers a variety of food, drinks and house-made pastries to enjoy there or take to go. Now in the fourth season, Lisa hosts and caters events and provides a family-friendly place to hang out or catch some live music. And she’s a great example of someone who has worked to green her business despite some challenges.
It’s not a “given” that any business makes the effort to offer recycling, or composts kitchen waste, but Lisa has committed to both. And she’s very mindful how her food and drinks are served. She’s worked to provide more mason jars and coffee cups “for here” and has recently switched from plastic to compostable straws. She’s also added vegetarian and vegan options to her menu, which have a smaller carbon footprint.
“I just feel that we have to do our part,” she says. She watched a video of an autopsy of a beached whale where 30 plastic bags were found in its stomach. “After that I came back and said, ‘No more. No more plastic bags.” So she made the switch to paper, despite the fact that it is many times more expensive.
She admits that as a business owner, some of the changes are not easy. “It costs more, but that’s our normal now. We budget for it.” Offering things like biodegradable straws (plastic straws are not recyclable) and using paper bags can be hard on the bottom line. “In the beginning we couldn’t do it, you’re worried about staying afloat as a brand new business. But now, we’re a part of a movement. It’s happening slowly but it’s a movement.”
Other changes she’s made - or wants to make - have been met with mixed reviews from her customers. She says she’d like to stop selling bottled water completely, but if she did, she’d just have to offer plastic cups because people are going to want water. She sells reusable aluminum water bottles - really cool customized Liberty Bottles that are made in Washington - but she doesn’t expect everyone who wants some water to buy one. She also is in the process of switching all of her cups for smoothies & milkshakes from styrofoam to plastic. Plastic is recyclable, styrofoam is not.* She was concerned that her customers wouldn’t like the change, but overall it has been received well.
Speaking of those made-in-Washington bottles, another choice Lisa has made is that ALL of the retail products she sells - soaps, candles, Seahawks gear - are all made in Washington. You can feel good about anything you purchase there since it hasn’t already traveled thousands of miles from a factory overseas to get to the Baker Flats. Most recently, Lisa has decided to up her game for her Tread Lightly Friday discount. Originally she offered $.50 off a coffee with your own cup every Friday. Now she offers $.50 off ANY drink they make (coffee, tea, shakes, smoothies, etc.) ANY day of the week. Now THAT’S refreshing!
*Some styrofoam can be recycled at Dolco Packaging on Columbia St in Wenatchee. They accept styrofoam to-go containers and egg cartons as long as they are clean and dry. However, styrofoam of any kind is not accepted through Waste Management’s curbside or commercial recycling services.