New Broadway business offers eco-friendly products

SARANAC LAKE A new store on Broadway is making it a little easier for Tri-Lake residents to go green. Eco Living, owned-and-operated by long-time Saranac Lake resident Amy Johnstone, held its grand opening Friday, May 30. Although the official ceremony was slated for 4 p.m., Johnstone said she was busy throughout the day. I cant believe how busy it was, she said. I hadnt even told all that many people about the grand opening, yet somehow the word got out. Some of the heavy traffic may have been old customers, who may have been surprised to find new products in a familiar place. Johnstone formerly ran White Pine Design, a popular destination for unique fleece garments and a variety of other products. Eco Living currently resides in the same storefront that once featured White Pine. I had to get away from White Pine because I sold a lot of fleece products and honestly, I never want to sew again, joked Johnstone. Really, though, Ive been moving in this direction for some time, that is, Ive been carrying more and more eco-friendly products. I thought, why not undergo a complete makeover? All of the items for sale at Eco Living are organic/fair trade, meaning that they have been approved by the Fair Trade Federation. According to Johnstone, there have been instances in the past where consumers are misinformed, and the products they purchased were not actually obtained via fair-trade. I do a lot of research, added Johnstone. I like to make sure that everything checks out, because otherwise the consumer can be abused by the system. The store carries clothing made of bamboo and hemp fiber, kitchenware carved from bamboo, and a whole list of environmentally friendly items at a reasonable price. Bamboo is becoming a popular alternative to traditional wood, explained Johnstone. Bamboo is a more renewable resource, she said. It grows at a much faster pace than the more traditional trees. Johnstone hopes that stores like hers catch on in Saranac Lake. In the past year, a number of organic and/or fair trade businesses have opened, including the increasingly popular Adirondack Bean-To, which serves organic fair-trade coffee products, and Greens and Beans, an eatery located on Bloomingdale Ave. I think that Saranac Lake can be a forerunner in sustainable living, added Johnstone. Just the other day, I e-mailed a whole bunch of people and asked them what kind of stuff they would like to see my store carry, and people responded like mad. Eco Living is located at 23 Broadway in downtown Saranac Lake, and can be reached by phone at 891-1181. For more information about fair trade, visit www.fairtradefederation.org.

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