We all know the term reduce, reuse, recycle. So what if I told you there was a place right here in our city that goes above and beyond reduce, reuse, recycle? From groceries to cleaning supplies and everything in between, this little eco-conscious business is making a huge impact within our city, for our planet. There are so many of us who don’t know where to even begin to make a difference, so a trip to Bulk Basket is the best place to go. Let’s hear what they have to say before you head on down there. TUF local would like to introduce you to Bulk Basket…
REALTOR® /Mortgage Associate/TUF Local blogger
Describe your business: We are a locally owned sustainable grocery store and eco-shop! We carry bulk pantry staples, bath and body products, cleaning supplies, produce, and more! Many of our products come from local suppliers that align with our values of being eco-conscious and reducing waste. Our main goal is to provide the core area of Riversdale with sustainable grocery options and refillable goods. We carry a variety of organic products as well!
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you? Our driving ethos is waste reduction. It’s difficult to make a difference as one individual, so we want to help as many people as possible reduce their waste in a sustainable and affordable way. We believe that everything we buy has an impact, and we want to have as positive an impact as we can.
What has surprised you most when owning your own business? The amount of support we have received when we let the public know that we were struggling due to the pandemic was overwhelming. It’s heartwarming to know that people want us to be able to continue!
What is something people don’t know about your business? A lot of people don’t know the sheer variety of products that we carry! We are constantly trying new things and making changes to try to suit our customers better. We also have a smoothie bar in store which gives a discount when you bring in your own cup! We have lots of programs in store to encourage people to reduce their waste.
What would your customers say they love most about doing business with you? I would hope that they would say we are helpful! We try very hard to accommodate customer’s needs in whatever way we can, whether that means bringing in new products or finding things in store!
What are some odd requests you’ve had from customers/clients? Nothing has been too odd so far, we mostly just get requests for interesting products that we’ve often never heard of before!
How do you motivate and encourage each other? Yourself? or Staff? It’s very easy to be motivated when you do the kind of work that we do. Knowing that we are doing our very best to make a difference is incredibly rewarding. We are always looking for ways to improve our operations and make things easier and better, so it’s a constant challenge. Everyone on staff is encouraged to innovate and bring in new programs and offer new ideas.
Where do you see your business in the next years? We would love to be able to operate as a full service grocery store to serve the downtown core. We’re in the middle of Riversdale where it’s hard to find affordable, healthy groceries. That is why we recently brought in freezers and plan to start offering baked goods like bread soon as well!
What are your greatest challenges? The pandemic has been extremely difficult for us as it has been for everyone else. We continue to try to increase our product offerings to encourage more people to come in and check us out, but it’s very difficult when we are a small business and can’t always compete with large chain stores.
What is something most people don’t know about you? At Bulk Basket, we tend to hold onto things a little bit. I’m sure anyone who is on their zero waste journey can sympathize with the struggle of throwing anything away! We hold onto boxes and packing paper and reuse bags and yogurt containers! If anyone ever needs packing paper, boxes, or pallets, let me know!
What do you love most about your town/city? I love the sense of community that you can feel here, especially in Riversdale. All the businesses down here support one another and it’s so nice to walk down the street and recognize so many people.
What are your favorite restaurants? There are so many! The Underground Cafe that is right across the street from us is an amazing lunch joint with homemade soups and salads that are so delicious. Primal Pasta has the best handmade pasta I’ve ever had! Odd Couple is so innovative with the fusion cuisines that they come up with and it’s always incredible. I could go on, but if you walk down 20th St there is no end to the fantastic local places.
What are your favorite things to do locally? I’m a big fan of checking out local places and shops that I’ve never been to before! You never know when you’re going to find your next favourite place (for me, this was Nefelibata, a local queer-owned craft store with an entirely second-hand inventory!)! There are also so many classes and workshops that you can take in the city through the U of S or the Saskatoon Makerspace. There are endless things to learn and do!
Business Manager – Kelsey Sundbo
Business Owner – Nagarajan Algarsamy
Address: 401 – 20th Street W Saskatoon SK S7M 0X3