Shopping sustainably isn’t as hard as it once used to be. Package-free stores are popping up all over the city, and the latest to open in Toronto is bare market.
If the name bare market sounds familiar, it might be because you’ve seen the company’s pop-up shops before. Prior to opening its first brick-and-mortar location on the Danforth at the beginning of February 2020, bare market’s founder, Dayna Stein, hosted monthly package-free pop-ups in the city.
But Stein’s interest in package-free shopping stems much further back.
While living in Vancouver in 2012, Stein completed a degree in Sustainable Food Systems and Food Security, and had access to a refill shop that featured body, DIY, and home care goods. “Purchasing the things I needed from there felt like the one tangible way I was practicing what I was preaching and aligning my dollars with my values,” Stein tells us. “I knew back then there was a gap in the market in Toronto, and I wanted to bring it back here at some point, I just wasn’t quite ready back then.”
But in 2017, Stein was ready to take the leap.
In October 2017, Stein quit her consulting job to focus on bare market.
The concept was always meant to be a physical storefront, but hosting the pop-ups allowed Stein to test different products and price points, and get a better understanding of demand. Her first pop-up opened in June 2018, and was well received Torontonians looking to lessen their footprint.
Now at the permanent location, you can shop much more than the pop-up’s original offerings.
From bulk body items like shampoo, eyeshadow, and makeup remover, to home cleaning products, DIY ingredients like Himalayan sea salt and Avocado oil, and organic produce, bare market has just about everything you need to go bare and make an easy transition into package-free life.
Stein works with local suppliers and specialists to ensure each product stocked in-store makes as little an impact on the environment as possible, and often turns to Etsy, farmer’s markets, and local events to find the best package-free goods the city has to offer.
The store also features a cafe with seating up front.
At the end of the day, Stein sees bare market as much more than a store — it’s a way to start a dialogue on larger environmental and social issues.
“We chose to have a permanent retail space so that we could build community [and] spark this dialogue [through] workshops, panels, movie screenings, classes, and more.”
bare market is open six days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday. You can visit the store at 1480 Danforth Ave. in Toronto. Just remember to bring in your reusable containers!
See more photos from inside bare market below.
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