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Businesses mindful of environment

January 23, 2009
By MIRIAM MOELLER Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Businesses across the country are focusing more on being green - including in Marquette.

Some become certified, following guidelines such as offering environmentally friendly and fair trade products, incorporating eco-friendly and energy efficient practices, providing educational programs and exercising social justice.

Kim Smith-Potts, owner of Garden Bouquet and Design on Baraga Avenue, has successfully incorporated some of these guidelines into her business.

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"It's always been my personal ethic to include a proponent of social and environmental justice (into my work)," she said. "We have an ethic behind our business and the ethic is to utilize and offer products that are either eco-friendly, fair trade or regional art."

As a result, Smith-Potts is constantly looking to be more environmentally conscious. For instance, all paper products in the store are 100 percent recycled. Packaging either gets a new function or is sent back to the wholesaler to be reused.

"We try to compost as much of the green as we can," she said.

Smith-Potts tries to buy cut flowers from wholesalers who meet organic standards, are socially responsible and give their workers a fair wage.

"That's what we want to support," she said.

Water is saved in buckets to feed plants at the store. Glassware, such as vases, is made from recycled glass. Customers can also bring in their old clean vases to be reused or to get store credit.

About 10,000 stems of flowers as well as evergreen branches come from Smith-Potts farm in Skandia, where she has practiced organic gardening for the past 15 years.

Besides store products, Garden Bouquet and Design is housed in a "recycled" building.

The building was supposed to be torn down, but Smith-Potts' husband Mike remodeled it instead, making it energy-efficient and using lots of recycled materials on the inside and outside of the structure.

In addition, Smith-Potts is looking into ribbons that are made out of recycled plant fibers instead of plastic.

Other newer businesses in Marquette that are going green include Wilderness Carwash and Green Dog Natural Pet Grooming.

The carwash on U.S. 41 offers certified green soaps, focuses on using recycled containers and uses less water than if a car was washed at home.

Green Dog Natural Pet Grooming uses all natural and organic products as well as biodegradable cleaning supplies. Store owner Angela Sedgwick said she practices holistic pet care.

"It's part of who I am," she said about living and working a green lifestyle.



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