By Kristen Nowak Winn
Nestled among shelves stocked with lotions and light bulbs, little environmental tips sporadically pop up, unearthing ideas of ways to go green.
For eco-conscious shoppers, browsing through GreenSmartGifts in Lakewood feels like home. For those new to the concept, itâ€™s also a great place to learn.
â€œI truly hope to use it not only as a retail store, but also to increase education and awareness about sustainability,â€ owner Mary Evans said.
As the name suggests, GreenSmartGifts focuses on gift-giving with an Earth-friendly twist.
Anything you might normally buy as a present â€” like baby clothes, jewelry, candles, beauty products or kidsâ€™ toys â€” has a green counterpart here.
For Evans, that means choosing products with characteristics like nontoxic, organic, fair trade or made of recyclable materials.
Pick up some wind chimes made out of recycled glass, a bracelet made out of old bike chains, or go for a kite to encourage children to play outside.
The shop might be small, but it packs in a wide selection without being overpowering.
Most importantly, it also encourages consumers to think about not only to whom theyâ€™re giving a gift, but what it is theyâ€™re actually giving and how that can impact the environment.
My favorite gift idea? The â€œGarden in a Bagâ€ ($8), a flower that will sprout right in the bag without the need for planting.
Just mix the seeds and soil, and add water.
You donâ€™t even need a card because colorful greetings like â€œhappy birthdayâ€ decorate the front of the bags.
GreenSmartGiftsâ€™ hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store, located at 14534 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, is closed on Monday.
For more information, go to www.greensmartgifts.com or call 216-712-7980.
Winn may be reached at 330-721-4053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.