Word of Mouth

What's in store for the green movement? Ellie's

Want to see what's next in the green revolution? Head to Boulder, a hotbed for businesses specializing in natural and organic products (for more on that, see my Naturally Boulder blogs). That's where the first Ellie’s Eco Home Store will debut tomorrow at 2545 Arapahoe Street -- right by a Sunflower market -- and open a new era in environmentally conscious shopping.

Ellie's is the brainchild of Steve Savage, the owner of Eco Products, an eighteen-year-old company that specializes in "green" products ranging from cups to cleaning products, and named for his daughter. The spacious store looks like a mix of REI and Home Depot, “with a sprinkling of Target, we hope,” says store manager Carly Marriott.

Ellie's has everything from green kids' toys to apparel, flooring, bedding and kitchen supplies. The prices are surprisingly reasonable, but at the same time Savage wants to keep costs low, he wants to keep conscientious quality high. “We have local, we have fair trade. Everything will benefit the community,” he says. “We want someone to be able to do their complete house here.”

And everything they might eat in that house will be right nearby. Savage plans on placing future Ellie’s next to health-foods grocers, just as he's done here. With Sunflower so close, a customer can conceivably shop completely green without having to drive across town (very anti-environment) or special-order things online (not particularly community-oriented).

The concept could be as revolutionary as Whole Foods was in the early 1980s. Savage's rapidly expanding company is on pace to be one of the 200 fastest-growing enterprises in 2009, and Ellie's could bring in even more green even as it helps us go green. -- Tyler Nemkov

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun