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Huntsville’s Sustain Eco Store will be opening a second location in Peterborough thanks to a contest that won them a free one-year lease for retail space in the city’s downtown, a package worth over $40,000.
Celine and Jonathan MacKay have owned Sustain, an eco living retail store that also specializes in green building materials, for just over 10 years.
They are well-known in the community for being passionate about green living and ultimately being a hub for advice for those on a journey to becoming more sustainable.
“Jonathan and I both grew up with an appreciation for the environment,” says Celine. “My mother was very green. Later in life when we were renovating our first home we were researching toxins in the home and our eyes were instantly opened. We then looked up if there were any green alternatives and opened Sustain shortly after that.”
At first, they mostly sold building products such as flooring, paint, and mattresses, but the pair soon realized that people in Muskoka wanted access to green body and home care products as well.
Celine says that one of the most popular services at Sustain now is the bulk refill section. There are over 50 different liquids you can refill including laundry soap, dish soap, body cream, and shampoo/conditioner.
“Any toxins you can put on your skin can absorb into your system within 30 seconds,” Celine explains. “Lotions, makeup, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant all have a huge impact on your life. We go through all of the ingredients of every product we carry so that level of trust and integrity is there for our customers.”
The MacKays’ goal has always been to provide an open, welcoming space for people to come and shop as well as become educated on green living.
“On an individual level there is so much you can do. It doesn’t matter where you’re at on your journey we want to nurture that and help educate you. The more habits we can infuse in our daily life to support a sustainable future the closer we are,” Celine says. “The sooner humans understand that we are not separate from nature, the sooner significant change will occur. There’s now a general awareness that didn’t exist before in terms of understanding the natural environment, your own health and cultivating a safe future for our children.”
She says that when she and Jonathan moved back to Muskoka, they “thought about the area critically and that gave us an appreciation and sense of wonder of how we can make a difference. We are really fortunate to live in an environment like this, it really is such a luxury and privilege to live here and we need to protect it.”
And even before the couple learned about Peterborough’s “Win this Space 2019” contest, they had the city in the back of their minds for a second Sustain location. They’ve even had many customers travelling to Huntsville from Peterborough to visit the store.
“Our vision has always been to grow Sustain at some point in our journey. Many of our customers told us about how that would be the perfect location to expand to,” says Celine. “Peterborough has amazing outdoor recreation, Fleming College has sustainable and natural building courses, and we felt it was a place we could fit in perfectly.”
After meeting with representatives from the City of Peterborough and the local BIA, they were told about the contest to win retail space in the core of the city.
The goal of the contest each year is to help revitalize the Peterborough’s downtown, keep the shops fresh and bring in new businesses. Many businesses applied; Sustain made it to the top 10 and then went on to win.
The new location will be very similar to the one in Huntsville, and Celine says that it is a great opportunity to really define Sustain’s identity and do a little bit of rebranding.
Although they will still be running the Huntsville location, they plan to move to Peterborough for the summer and live in their vintage Airstream trailer while opening the new location. The pair are excited about creating jobs for Peterborough and plan to hire at least four people to run the store right off the bat.
Sustain Huntsville is located at 114 Main St E #2 and their Peterborough location will be at 418 George Street North. Learn more at shop.sustainecostore.com.