Featured Business: Good Buy Supply
For Emily Rodia and Jason Rusnack, founders of Good Buy Supply, 1737 E. Passyunk Ave, having a general store was a long-held dream. “We met as students at UArts,” said Emily. “The inspiration came to us on a trip to Canada. We discovered several amazing zero-waste stores and we wondered, “Why don’t we have something like this?”
Emily has always been interested in environmental conservation. “Even after we graduated and had jobs, we kept writing down ideas about our shared vision. We wanted to have a place that provided products that were good for the earth and good for people.” Those dreams had to be put on hold while Emily worked as a manager for another business. “I did a lot of buying and customer service, so I learned the ins and outs while running someone else business,” she said. In 2020, they opened Good Buy Supply in the heart of East Passyunk and the middle of the pandemic.
Today, Emily handles the day-to-day ordering, inventory, and assisting customers while Jason does the photography for the website and handles what Emily dubs “the heavy work,” refilling 30-gallon drums. They hired their first part-time employee a month ago. A good sign that business is growing.
“We have a lot more products than when we initially opened,” said Emily. “What’s cool is that the recycling and sustainability movement is evolving and we are constantly finding new items. For instance, we have a reusable paper towel. It’s a cotton cloth that has the same thinness and absorbency as a paper towel, but you can put it in a washing machine and use it to repeatedly wipe off counters.”
Their most popular products are found at the refill bar: hand soap, laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, and body wash. These bulk products come in unscented as well as popular aromas such as Citrus, Lemongrass, Grapefruit, Lavender, and Rosemary Mint Vanilla. To earn 20% off your tenth in-store refill, bring your own clean, dry containers; refill them with any bulk products; and receive a Refill Rewards card and stamp for each container filled.
You’ll also find things like bamboo toothbrushes and lip balm, plus an extensive selection of food-related items that can really help create a waste-free kitchen. These include reusable beeswax wraps, linen coffee filters, and stainless steel coffee filters instead of plastic ones.
In their home, Emily and Jason cook a mostly plant-based diet and compost all food scraps to reduce waste which is why they made it a point to stock the shop with attractive stainless steel kitchen compost bins with a carbon filter to reduce odors.
Good Buy Supply is located in East Passyunk, a great neighborhood with a thriving and eclectic suite of small businesses just steps away from each other. “Next door is Philly Typewriter repair shop; their customer base is similar to ours. Nearby is A Novel Idea bookstore and August Moon, a woman’s boutique,” said Emily. “You can get everything you need for your home on the Avenue, from plants at Urban Jungle to flowers at Creations by Coppola. Over half our customers live in the immediate neighborhood,” said Emily who lives with her husband just a ten-minute walk from her shop.
Another plus? “We are all independent businesses, protected by the business district so we’ll never get a Starbucks or other chain store. It’s also the highest concentration of women owners and we all support one another,” she said.
“We are proud to say that very little waste makes it to the curb at Good Buy Supply,” said Emily. “We have set up programs with Circle Compost, Bottle Underground, Rabbit Recycling, and TerraCycle to keep the shop waste from heading to the landfill. We reuse as much of our vendor packaging as possible for things like our online shipments, business cards, etc.”
“We ship completely plastic-free! Our packaging is reused from other shipments, so packaging will vary from time to time,” said Emily. “We also have an option for carbon-neutral shipping through Cloverly.”
An interesting footnote for urban anthropologists: Going back to the 1950s, East Passyunk Avenue had previously been filled with mom-and-pop shops serving the needs of local residents. While many are gone, they have been replaced by young owners equally invested in the well-being of the community.
Good Buy Supply is one of the featured shops that will be part of the Sustainable Business Network’s 2nd Annual Sustainable & Local Tour of East Passyunk. The event will be held on Saturday, September 30, from 11am – 3pm and is sponsored by Solo Real Estate. Guided tours begin at 11am, 12pm, and 1pm. Self guided tours will be throughout the day, as well as scavenger hunts. Stop by to visit Emily and Jason at Good Buy Supply and support sustainable businesses in Philadelphia.