Since I’ve been traveling and out of New York the past year or so, whenever I go back I am so excited to check out all my favorite spots, and find new ones, too! As a dietitian who loves to learn the stories behind brands, I know that it can sometimes feel like you have a never-ending list of places to check out, but… add just one more! Earlier this year, I was introduced to The Goods Mart and I quickly added it to the list of reasons I think I need to move back to NYC ASAP. The Goods Mart you’ll find curated, mission-driven brands, a good cup of coffee for under $2 and goods that prioritize your health and the health of the environment. (Literally, what more could you ask for?) Some of The Wellful favorites for a mid-afternoon pick up are the Vital Farms hard boiled eggs, a mini bag of Tate’s, a Jones’ bar or some Madécasse chocolate!
I was lucky to walk through and learn about the store and concept from the founder, Rachel Krupa. Rachel is also the Founder & CEO of Krupa Consulting, the boutique food and wellness PR firm.
Brenna: What was the main inspiration/reason for creating The Goods Mart?
Rachel: I absolutely love, love convenience stores and gas stations. When I was growing up, we stopped into the local Sunoco station/market for quick home essential and the necessary snacks. Then later, as I began to learn about ingredients and evolved with my own eating, I found that nearly all mini-marts were limiting and I had nowhere to soak in my obsession, nowhere to stock up and peruse brightly lit aisles on the random. When I had to stop in, it was always “choose the lesser of two evils” – mediocre mixed nuts or preservative filled beef jerky. I thought, “Why am I compromising?” – the answer was The Goods Mart, a place full of better-for-you options that are also socially-conscious.
Brenna: Most of the prices of products in The Goods Mart are notably lower than other stores that carry the same products, how were you able to do this and why was making wellness more affordable, in this way, important to you in creating The Goods Mart?
Rachel: We’re choosing not to mark up our goods because we want to stay accessible and make these better-for-you products available to more people. Examples of how we’ve made things possible: We’ve worked with La Colombe to find a blend that was high quality but sold at a lower price point. We bring in cosmetically challenged produce that might not get attention elsewhere but we know it tastes just as good!! We buy from local vendors and support our communities. We also knew we needed to accept EBT/Snap to be more inclusive.
Brenna: What has been the most rewarding and what has been the most challenging part of creating a physical store?
Rachel: The most rewarding part is giving back to our communities and really making an impact. Since we’ve opened, we’ve raised over $12,000 for local non-profits, but this has been done by our customers donating 2% of their bills. Every little donation adds up! And we’ve saved over 27,000 plastic water bottles already just by eliminating single serve plastic bottles from our stores.
The most challenging part was learning the operations side of the business because it’s new to me, but while it’s been challenging, it’s also been fun. I have been lucky to have a great team to support and learn from.
Brenna: What lessons did you learn in building and growing Krupa Consulting that have been helpful in starting The Goods Mart? What’s been the biggest learning curve?
Rachel: I didn’t come from a retail background but for the past 15 years I’ve been a publicist in the food and wellness space and have seen and worked with countless brands in the retail space! I watched and learned so much from all of them.
I look at mistakes as learning tools, so the mistake I’m most grateful for it not learning the back side of my business from day one. I lead with passion, which is VERY important, but I now look at the whole picture before jumping in!
Brenna: If someone is stopping by for lunch, what are your favorite suggestions for them to pick up from TGM?
Rachel: We have a large variety, so it’s hard to narrow but I’d have to say… a sandwich from Alidoro or a burrito from LA’s best maker – Burrito Los Palma, a Vital Farms hardboiled egg snack pack, a bag of Laiki chips, a MatchaBar Hustle, or a tasty Dona Spice Soda (the pink peppercorn… omg), and if you have a sweet tooth like me, a Torie and Howard Chewie Fruitie (a better-for-you starbust) or a bag of Tiny Tates. Oh… you can’t forget about our organic slushies!
You can visit The Goods Mart in Soho at 189 Lafayette between Broome & Grand). If you’re on the West Coast, stop by 3140 Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, CA.