It’s not everyday a business can brand themselves as plastic-free and chemical-free. In fact, entrepreneur Katie Hartle believes she may be the first gym in the area to do so. Glow Fitness for Women, located in downtown Selkirk, recently opened its doors- and the eyes of its customers- with a wide range of environmentally-friendly features.
From conception, her business has taken an alternative management approach. She chose to help revitalize the older buildings downtown rather than be located in the newer developments. Then, with a fresh coat of [recycled] paint, her plastic-free, chemical-free business model began to come to life. From the office supplies to the cleaning products, Katie has sourced effective eco-choices, including (but certainly not limited to):
- Botanical cleaners and Norwex cloths for the bathroom and gym equipment;
- Glass containers used to buy bulk soap and laundry detergent from Generation Green, plus glass soap dispensers;
- Essential oil diffusers to add natural aromatherapy (making it a good smelling gym!);
- Retail items that do not come in plastic packaging;
- Gym equipment and office equipment (computers and security cameras) that are refurbished;
- A desk made out of old pallets; plus
- Pencils instead of pens and markers.
Before opening her doors though, she sat down with her colleagues for a unique, yet inspiring staff training session. Katie showed staff the natural products used, and explained that they work just as well as chemical cleaners, plus don’t trigger scent allergies. She even included a viewing of “A Plastic Ocean” to emphasize her inspiration for the plastic-free business model. The documentary was an eye-opening experience for her, demonstrating that, “Plastic has a short convenience that leads to a long-term inconvenience.”
As Katie further explains her drive behind her business, she points out that it’s really just a change in mindset based on need, “You kind of have to… the amount of plastic is devastating. We need to make some huge changes, and [businesses] have a chance to influence people on a larger scale… to create more conversations.”
Yet her approach may seem daunting to those used to conventional management methods. As Katie explains though, being environmentally conscious “is more cost-effective. There’s less trash to clean-up and less employee time required. It also adds to the quality of the business… The response has been great!”
Katie strongly recommends fellow business owners try some of her methods. She hopes that her success demonstrates that aiming for a plastic-free and chemical-free business model doesn’t have to be challenging. Even starting with something as simple as not offering plastic straws or disposable water bottles makes a difference. For Katie, she adopted a mantra she learned from volunteering with Greenpeace, “Progress, not perfection… Just start with one thing and build on it.” With businesses taking a lead on climate-friendly choices, conversations about chemical-free and plastic-free lifestyles can take root. From there, Katie hopes it will lead to a feel-good community change overall.
“I’m happy to do this. Everyone loves it. [And] it’s time to wake up and adopt change.”
Katie can be reached at her gym, Glow Fitness for Women at:
217 Clandeboye Avenue, Selkirk, Manitoba
Follow her on Facebook and Instagram: @GlowFitnessforWomen for news, gym schedules, and updates on her FRESH story.