Home away from home

Lee’s Summit resident opens recycled goods shop in downtown

tporter@lsjournal.comAugust 12, 2014 

The choice of where to open her first storefront wasn’t an easy decision for Gabriella Sanders, but one that she made on pure instinct.

Confronted with the option of opening Greener Life Market in Kansas City’s artsy Crossroads District or in downtown Lee’s Summit, Sanders let her gut lead the choice.

“Originally we were going to be in the Crossroads,” said Sanders, who lives in Lee’s Summit. “I had my spot already picked out. I was driving home one day from the building and my instincts told me to rethink it.

“Being here in Lee’s Summit and being close to my family and friends — being close just mattered. And I love downtown Lee’s Summit. I just went straight down here and found this spot. It’s home now.”

“This spot” is at 227 S.E. Douglas St.

Greener Life Market is a concept store that features recycled, up-cycled and environment-friendly goods. Items range from local “green” art to biodegradable toothbrushes. The fair-trade store opened Aug. 6. and has many different vendors supplying the inventory.

Several factors led Sanders to find a storefront. She already was making handbags from recycled billboards and taking them on the art show circuit.

“From there I just wanted my own home spot.”

Shirley Garrett of Garden City, Mo., was enjoying a day trip involving mothers, daughters and granddaughters when she and members of her traveling party discovered Greener Life.

“I thought it was very unique,” she said after her daughter purchased matching bracelets made out of pennies for the two of them. “I like all the recycled goods. It’s all very interesting...We don’t have anything like these down in Garden City.”

The daughter, Lori Faust, said any return visits to Lee’s Summit would possibly include a stop at Greener Life.

“The (bracelets) just really caught my eye,” Faust said. “It’s cool that they’re recycled from pennies and they have the bling on them. The store is very unique, very creative.”

Sanders plans to host free children’s workshops beginning this fall on the importance of recycling.

“You can bring your kids in on a Saturday and we’ll sit down and they’ll learn about how to recycle in their home and how to recycle in their community and what to look for on containers,” Sanders said. “Just the basic recycling. Then we’ll do a craft made out of recycled materials.”

In the meantime, Sanders is trying to get her feet under her after seeing her arts and crafts business morph from online commerce and art fair displays to an actual storefront.

“I really want to open people’s eyes on recycling,” she said. “Recycling doesn’t just have to be making sure the glass is in the right container. You can do something else with it besides putting it in a container. You can make something out of it. You can turn it into a bag; you can turn it into jewelry. Just be a little bit more creative.”

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