Updated: Nov 13
Reflections: Two Years and Counting
I can’t believe that Ren Market is already two years old!
The saying “the days are long, but the years are short” comes to mind when I think of all that has happened in the span of two years. Since opening my tiny shop in West Duluth, I’ve weathered a pandemic, hired employees, tripled the number of products in the shop, moved locations, dealt with family health emergencies, and had a baby. None of this would be possible without the support and encouragement of each and every one of you (and my fantastic staff).
Our new refill wall is a favorite of customers and features several bulk cleaning products
Reason for Being
Ren Market was created to help myself and others in Duluth reduce household waste. While I was teaching a course at UMD, I realized there was a disconnect between emergent environmental issues and my daily life. It was a student presentation on the impacts of the fast fashion industry that caused me to take a deeper look at my consumer tendencies. After a thorough inspection of my home, I was shocked at the sheer number of unused or expired products I had lying around the house, all wrapped in packaging that would end up being tossed. In an effort to make more conscious choices, I started to purchase more products in bulk, but was frustrated by the minimal local selection. When I went online, I was overwhelmed by all the options. Ren was born out of a need to bridge this gap to more sustainable choices for our community.
And so, November 13th, 2020, I opened the doors to Ren Market for the first time. My husband, Matt, and I took a crash course in Handyman 101 as we gutted the original space on the corner of Grand and Central. It took a month’s worth of work to get things shipshape. The shop was old but had so much character and charm (lookin’ at you sage green ceiling). The response from you all was so positive, the shop was expanding, and eventually we outgrew the space.
At the end of 2021 we officially made the move to the Crafts District in Lincoln Park. It was a whirlwind. Matt had emergency brain surgery in December, I hired staff and moved the shop mid-January, and we welcomed little Avi Morgen into the world during a snowstorm in February. I’ve been navigating what it means to be a new parent and full-time business owner ever since. I miss the old location at times, but I love being a part of the Lincoln Park community and the new location has connected the shop with so many new people.
I’m so excited for all the things to come as the shop moves into its third year. We’re dialing in our communication, working to make sustainability accessible to everyone in our community, fine-tuning our website, and maybe even offering a class or two! I can’t wait to see where we go next!
For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we have undergone such drastic change and growth. For the new faces, welcome! You are all the reason for Ren Market’s existence and the living, breathing soul of the low waste movement. Thank you for being committed to supporting your local community and making a difference both here, and worldwide, as we work together to be better stewards of our resources and our planet.
Click through the sliders to see a progression of Ren Market from old location to new!