written by:
August 30, 2011

In August 2010, Kristi Reimers opened the doors of her shop Eco Carmel to fulfill a dream of starting her own businesses and also to make a difference to her Carmel, California, community and to the health of the planet. "It's not just a store where people can come to shop; it's also a great resource about sustainable living," she says. 

Reimers has a background in natural health. Before launching the shop, she worked at a local Carmel business that sold natural body products and had also managed an area spa. "I really loved researching and finding the best treatments to make somebody fee
Reimers has a background in natural health. Before launching the shop, she worked at a local Carmel business that sold natural body products and had also managed an area spa. "I really loved researching and finding the best treatments to make somebody feel better," she says. At Eco Carmel, she still does just that, sourcing everything from home remodeling products to kitchen utensils to create healthy homes.
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The space that now houses Eco Carmel was previous two storefronts. "I took down the wall in between and then took the longest time carefully picking building products that I wanted to sell so that I could use them in the renovation," Reimers says. One of
The space that now houses Eco Carmel was previous two storefronts. "I took down the wall in between and then took the longest time carefully picking building products that I wanted to sell so that I could use them in the renovation," Reimers says. One of those products was Mythic. "It's the greenest latex paint on the market today," she says. To be labelled as a "no-VOC" paint, cans can still contain nearly five grams of VOCs per liter. Mythic paint, on the other hand, is completely VOC free and is also nontoxic. "Other companies have taken out the VOCs but left the formaldehyde and benzene and things that continue to offgas," she says. "What I support about Mythic is that it started from scratch to make a whole new type of nontoxic paint. "The old-timey label designs certainly don't hurt either.
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Reimers sells the plaster, wood stains, concrete stains, and other remodeling products she used to create her space. "It's a showroom where people can see what the products actually look like, and it was an effort to walk the talk," Reimers says.
Reimers sells the plaster, wood stains, concrete stains, and other remodeling products she used to create her space. "It's a showroom where people can see what the products actually look like, and it was an effort to walk the talk," Reimers says.
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At the shop, she also sells beds made from sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood along with <a href="http://www.nativeorganic.com/home.htm">Native Organic Cotton</a> towels and bedding, mattresses by <a href="http://www.savvyrest.com/">Savvyrest</a>, an
At the shop, she also sells beds made from sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood along with Native Organic Cotton towels and bedding, mattresses by Savvyrest, and comforters and pillows by Holy Lamb Organics.
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"I wanted the shop to be a one-stop shop for environmentally friendly products," Reimers says. "That's why it's taken on a general store feel." The kitchen section of Eco Carmel is filled with reusable metal straws and other sustainable products like the
"I wanted the shop to be a one-stop shop for environmentally friendly products," Reimers says. "That's why it's taken on a general store feel." The kitchen section of Eco Carmel is filled with reusable metal straws and other sustainable products like the stainless steel food containers by Kids Konserve.
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The store also features a number of products by <a href="http://www.preserveproducts.com">Preserve</a>. "I sell them because I want to support the company," Reimers says. Food-grade number five plastic is one of the least reused plastics (less than two pe
The store also features a number of products by Preserve. "I sell them because I want to support the company," Reimers says. Food-grade number five plastic is one of the least reused plastics (less than two percent of recycled number five plastics in the U.S. are made into other things, Reimers says). Preserve is among the few companies using the material, which it does to create items ranging from colanders to tooth brushes.
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One popular set of products at Eco Carmel are the compost bins. "They're a necessity for diverting material from landfills," Reimers says. On display are stoneware, metal, and bamboo models from <a href="http://www.rsvp-intl.com">RSVP International</a>. T
One popular set of products at Eco Carmel are the compost bins. "They're a necessity for diverting material from landfills," Reimers says. On display are stoneware, metal, and bamboo models from RSVP International. The products are made in China (Reimers would love to find a domestically made alternative), but they are fair trade and are not made with child labor. "When I research product lines I have long conversations with the owners or managers to make sure it's all green, to find out how it's made and where it's made, and to make sure it's all-around planet-friendly," she says.
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Signs with green tips speckle the store, like this one about reusable lunch bags that sits next to fabric sandwich bags and lunch totes by <a href="http://www.grazeorganic.com/">Graze Organic</a> and <a href="http://www.rebelgreen.com/">Rebel Green</a>.
Signs with green tips speckle the store, like this one about reusable lunch bags that sits next to fabric sandwich bags and lunch totes by Graze Organic and Rebel Green.
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Another tip suggests using a shower filter, like on by <a href="http://www.chansonalkalinewater.com/cart/index.php">Chanson</a>, to reduce chlorine exposure.
Another tip suggests using a shower filter, like on by Chanson, to reduce chlorine exposure.
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Bipeds aren't the only ones Eco Carmel caters to. Reimers's pet section features green toys and sustainable, nontoxic washes and sprays for four-legged friends like <a href="http://www.paldog.com/">Pal Dog</a>.
Bipeds aren't the only ones Eco Carmel caters to. Reimers's pet section features green toys and sustainable, nontoxic washes and sprays for four-legged friends like Pal Dog.
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Tiny humans also get the eco-treatment. "The baby section started with one little table, because I wasn't sure how well it was going to do since there are other baby boutiques in town," Reimers says. "But I've had so many new moms as customers that there'
Tiny humans also get the eco-treatment. "The baby section started with one little table, because I wasn't sure how well it was going to do since there are other baby boutiques in town," Reimers says. "But I've had so many new moms as customers that there's been a huge demand and it's had to grow." The store carries clothe diapers and wipes, organic clothing, sustainable hangers (like the Ditto ones shown here), and more. It even has an eco-baby registry.
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Up next for Reimers and Eco Carmel is expanding the baby furniture offerings and creating a design desk. She is partnering with a local, green-focused interior designer who will work with customers to help them find any remodeling product they need, which
Up next for Reimers and Eco Carmel is expanding the baby furniture offerings and creating a design desk. She is partnering with a local, green-focused interior designer who will work with customers to help them find any remodeling product they need, which will then be available ordered through the store. An online shopping site is also in the works but in the meantime, if you want to check out the goods, you'll have to stop by her shop on San Carlos Street between 7th and 8th in downtown Carmel.

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Reimers has a background in natural health. Before launching the shop, she worked at a local Carmel business that sold natural body products and had also managed an area spa. "I really loved researching and finding the best treatments to make somebody fee
Reimers has a background in natural health. Before launching the shop, she worked at a local Carmel business that sold natural body products and had also managed an area spa. "I really loved researching and finding the best treatments to make somebody feel better," she says. At Eco Carmel, she still does just that, sourcing everything from home remodeling products to kitchen utensils to create healthy homes.

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